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The Very Large Telescope (VLT) is a telescope facility operated by the European Southern Observatory on Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. It consists of four individual telescopes, each with a primary mirror 8.2 m across, which are generally used separately but can be used together to achieve very high angular resolution. The four separate optical telescopes are known as Antu, Kueyen, Melipal, and Yepun, which are all words for astronomical objects in the Mapuche language. The telescopes form an array complemented by four movable Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs) of 1.8 m aperture.

Very Large Telescope
The four Unit Telescopes that form the VLT together with the four Auxiliary Telescopes
Alternative namesVLT
Part ofParanal Observatory
Location(s)Antofagasta Region, Chile
Coordinates24°37′38″S70°24′15″W /24.62733°S 70.40417°W /-24.62733; -70.40417Coordinates: 24°37′38″S70°24′15″W /24.62733°S 70.40417°W /-24.62733; -70.40417
OrganizationEuropean Southern Observatory
Altitude2,635 m (8,645 ft)
Observing time340 nights per year
Wavelength300 nm – 20 μm (N-UV, visible light, NIR, SWIR, MWIR, and LWIR)
First light1998 (for the first Unit Telescope)
Telescope styleastronomical observatory
Diameter
  • 4 x 8.2-metre Unit Telescopes (UT)
  • 4 x 1.8-metre moveable Auxiliary Telescopes (AT)
Angular resolution0.002 arcsecond
Focal length120 m (393 ft 8 in)
Websitewww.eso.org/vlt
Location of Very Large Telescope
Related media on Wikimedia Commons

The VLT operates at visible and infrared wavelengths. Each individual telescope can detect objects roughly four billion times fainter than can be detected with the naked eye, and when all the telescopes are combined, the facility can achieve an angular resolution of about 0.002 arc-second. In single telescope mode of operation angular resolution is about 0.05 arc-second.

The VLT is the most productive ground-based facility for astronomy, with only the Hubble Space Telescope generating more scientific papers among facilities operating at visible wavelengths. Among the pioneering observations carried out using the VLT are the first direct image of an exoplanet, the tracking of individual stars moving around the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way, and observations of the afterglow of the furthest known gamma-ray burst.

Contents

VLT's four Unit Telescopes

The VLT consists of an arrangement of four large (8.2 metre diameter) telescopes (called Unit Telescopes or UTs) with optical elements that can combine them into an astronomical interferometer (VLTI), which is used to resolve small objects. The interferometer also includes a set of four 1.8 meter diameter movable telescopes dedicated to interferometric observations. The first of the UTs started operating in May 1998 and was offered to the astronomical community on 1 April 1999. The other telescopes became operational in 1999 and 2000, enabling multi-telescope VLT capability. Four 1.8-metre Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs) have been added to the VLTI to make it available when the UTs are being used for other projects. These ATs were installed and became operational between 2004 and 2007.

The VLT's 8.2-meter telescopes were originally designed to operate in three modes:

  • as a set of four independent telescopes (this is the primary mode of operation).
  • as a single large coherent interferometric instrument (the VLT Interferometer or VLTI), for extra resolution. This mode is used for observations of relatively bright sources with small angular extent.
  • as a single large incoherent instrument, for extra light-gathering capacity. The instrumentation required to obtain a combined incoherent focus was not originally built. In 2009, new instrumentation proposals were put forward to potentially make that observing mode available. Multiple telescopes are sometimes independently pointed at the same object, either to increase the total light-gathering power or to provide simultaneous observations with complementary instruments.

Unit telescopes

Laser used for adaptive optics. It excites sodium atoms in the atmosphere and creates a laser guide star.
Upgrading Yepun (UT4) with the "Adaptive Optics Facility" in 2012.
Unit telescope undergoing inspection.

The UTs are equipped with a large set of instruments permitting observations to be performed from the near-ultraviolet to the mid-infrared (i.e. a large fraction of the light wavelengths accessible from the surface of the Earth), with the full range of techniques including high-resolution spectroscopy, multi-object spectroscopy, imaging, and high-resolution imaging. In particular, the VLT has several adaptive optics systems, which correct for the effects of atmospheric turbulence, providing images almost as sharp as if the telescope were in space. In the near-infrared, the adaptive optics images of the VLT are up to three times sharper than those of the Hubble Space Telescope, and the spectroscopic resolution is many times better than Hubble. The VLTs are noted for their high level of observing efficiency and automation.

The 8.2 m-diameter telescopes are housed in compact, thermally controlled buildings, which rotate synchronously with the telescopes. This design minimises any adverse effects on the observing conditions, for instance from air turbulence in the telescope tube, which might otherwise occur due to variations in the temperature and wind flow.

The SPHERE instrument attached to the VLT Unit Telescope 3.

The principal role of the main VLT telescopes is to operate as four independent telescopes. The interferometry (combining light from multiple telescopes) is used about 20 percent of the time for very high-resolution on bright objects, for example, on Betelgeuse. This mode allows astronomers to see details up to 25 times finer than with the individual telescopes. The light beams are combined in the VLTI using a complex system of mirrors in tunnels where the light paths must be kept equal within differences of less than 1 μm over a light path of a hundred metres. With this kind of precision the VLTI can reconstruct images with an angular resolution of milliarcseconds.

Mapuche names for the Unit Telescopes

The interior of Antu (UT1), meaning "sun" in the Mapuche language.

It had long been ESO's intention to provide "real" names to the four VLT Unit Telescopes, to replace the original technical designations of UT1 to UT4. In March 1999, at the time of the Paranal inauguration, four meaningful names of objects in the sky in the Mapuche language were chosen. This indigenous people lives mostly south of Santiago de Chile.

An essay contest was arranged in this connection among schoolchildren of the Chilean II Region of which Antofagasta is the capital to write about the implications of these names. It drew many entries dealing with the cultural heritage of ESO's host country.

The winning essay was submitted by 17-year-old Jorssy Albanez Castilla from Chuquicamata near the city of Calama. She received the prize, an amateur telescope, during the inauguration of the Paranal site.

Unit Telescopes 1–4 are since known as Antu (Sun), Kueyen (Moon), Melipal (Southern Cross), and Yepun (Evening Star), respectively. Originally there was some confusion as to whether Yepun actually stands for the evening star Venus, because a Spanish-Mapuche dictionary from the 1940s wrongly translated Yepun as "Sirius".

Auxiliary telescopes

Auxiliary Telescope, the Residencia and the heart of the Milky Way.

Although the four 8.2-metre Unit Telescopes can be combined in the VLTI, their observation time is spent mostly on individual observations, and are used for interferometric observations for a limited number of nights every year. However, the four smaller 1.8-metre ATs are available and dedicated to interferometry to allow the VLTI to operate every night.

The top part of each AT is a round enclosure, made from two sets of three segments, which open and close. Its job is to protect the delicate 1.8-metre telescope from the desert conditions. The enclosure is supported by the boxy transporter section, which also contains electronics cabinets, liquid cooling systems, air-conditioning units, power supplies, and more. During astronomical observations the enclosure and transporter are mechanically isolated from the telescope, to ensure that no vibrations compromise the data collected.

The transporter section runs on tracks, so the ATs can be moved to 30 different observing locations. As the VLTI acts rather like a single telescope as large as the group of telescopes combined, changing the positions of the ATs means that the VLTI can be adjusted according to the needs of the observing project. The reconfigurable nature of the VLTI is similar to that of the Very Large Array.

The soft glow of the Milky Way can be seen behind the VLT Survey Telescope (VST) at ESO's Paranal Observatory.

Results from the VLT have led to the publication of an average of more than one peer-reviewed scientific paper per day. For instance in 2017, over 600 refereed scientific papers were published based on VLT data. The telescope's scientific discoveries include direct imaging of Beta Pictoris b, the first extrasolar planet so imaged, tracking individual stars moving around the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way, and observing the afterglow of the furthest known gamma-ray burst.

In 2018, the VLT helped to perform the first successful test of Einstein's General Relativity on the motion of a star passing through the extreme gravitational field near the supermassive black hole, that is the gravitational redshift. In fact, the observation has been conducted for over 26 years with the SINFONI and NACO adaptive optics instruments in the VLT while the new approach in 2018 also used the beam-combiner instrument GRAVITY. The Galactic Centre team at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) had use the observation revealed the effects for the first time.

Other discoveries with VLT's signature include the detection of carbon monoxide molecules in a galaxy located almost 11 billion light-years away for the first time, a feat that had remained elusive for 25 years. This has allowed astronomers to obtain the most precise measurement of the cosmic temperature at such a remote epoch. Another important study was that of the violent flares from the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. The VLT and APEX teamed up to reveal material being stretched out as it orbits in the intense gravity close to the central black hole.

Using the VLT, astronomers have also estimated the age of extremely old stars in the NGC 6397 cluster. Based on stellar evolution models, two stars were found to be 13.4 ± 0.8 billion years old, that is, they are from the earliest era of star formation in the Universe. They have also analysed the atmosphere around a super-Earth exoplanet for the first time using the VLT. The planet, which is known as GJ 1214b, was studied as it passed in front of its parent star and some of the starlight passed through the planet's atmosphere.

In all, of the top 10 discoveries done at ESO's observatories, seven made use of the VLT.

Telescopes

Each Unit Telescope is a Ritchey-Chretien Cassegrain telescope with a 22-tonne 8.2 metre Zerodur primary mirror of 14.4 m focal length, and a 1.1 metre lightweight beryllium secondary mirror. A flat tertiary mirror diverts the light to one of two instruments at the f/15 Nasmyth foci on either side, with a system focal length of 120 m, or the tertiary tilts aside to allow light through the primary mirror central hole to a third instrument at the Cassegrain focus. This allows switching between any of the three instruments within 5 minutes, to match observing conditions. Additional mirrors can send the light via tunnels to the central VLTI beam-combiners. The maximum field-of-view (at Nasmyth foci) is around 27 arcminutes diameter, slightly smaller than the full moon, though most instruments view a narrower field.[citation needed]

Each telescope has an alt-azimuth mount with total mass around 350 tonnes, and uses active optics with 150 supports on the back of the primary mirror to control the shape of the thin (177mm thick) mirror by computers.

Instruments

A diagram showing instruments at VLT
SPHERE is an exoplanet imager
KMOS on the VLT's Antu (UT1) at the time of first light in 2012
The AMBER instrument before its installation at the VLTI in 2003
MUSE mounted on VLT Yepun (UT4)
VIMOS, the Visible Multi Object Spectrograph, at Melipal (UT3)
X-shooter spectrograph, 2009
UVES spectrograph (UT2)
GRAVITY (interferometer)
FORS-1 at the cassegrain focus (UT2)

The VLT instrumentation programme is the most ambitious programme ever conceived for a single observatory. It includes large-field imagers, adaptive optics corrected cameras and spectrographs, as well as high-resolution and multi-object spectrographs and covers a broad spectral region, from deep ultraviolet (300 nm) to mid-infrared (24 μm) wavelengths.

Instruments on the VLT (in 2019)
UT# Telescope name Cassegrain-Focus Nasmyth-Focus A Nasmyth-Focus B
1 Antu FORS2 NACO KMOS
2 Kueyen X-Shooter FLAMES UVES
3 Melipal VISIR SPHERE
4 Yepun SINFONI HAWK-I MUSE
AMBER (VLTI)
The Astronomical Multi-Beam Recombiner instrument combines three telescopes of the VLT at the same time, dispersing the light in a spectrograph to analyse the composition and shape of the observed object. AMBER is notably the "most-productive interferometric instrument ever".
CRIRES and CRIRES+
The Cryogenic Infrared Echelle Spectrograph is an adaptive optics assisted echelle spectrograph. It provides a resolving power of up to 100,000 in the infrared spectral range from 1 to 5 micrometres.

From 2014 to 2020 it underwent a major upgrade to CRIRES+ to provide ten times larger simultaneous wavelength coverage. A new detector focal plane array of three Hawaii 2RG detectors with a 5.3 μm cut-off wavelength replaced the existing detectors, a new spectropolarimetric unit is added, and the calibration system is enhanced. One of the scientific objectives of CRIRES+ is in-transit spectroscopy of exoplanets, which currently provides us with the only means of studying exoplanetary atmospheres. Transiting planets are almost always close-in planets that are hot and radiate most of their light in the infrared (IR). Furthermore, the IR is a spectral region where lines of molecular gases like carbon monoxide (CO), ammonia (NH3), and methane (CH4), etc. are expected from the exoplanetary atmosphere. This important wavelength region is covered by CRIRES+, which will additionally allow tracking multiple absorption lines simultaneously.

ESPRESSO
Echelle Spectrograph for Rocky Exoplanet- and Stable Spectroscopic Observations) is a high-resolution, fiber-fed and cross-dispersed echelle spectrograph for the visible wavelength range, capable of operating in 1-UT mode (using one of the four telescopes) and in 4-UT mode (using all four), for the search for rocky extra-solar planets in the habitable zone of their host stars. Its main feature is the spectroscopic stability and the radial-velocity precision. The requirement is to reach 10 cm/s, but the aimed goal is to obtain a precision level of few cm/s. ESPRESSO was installed and commissioned at the VLT in 2017–18.[needs update]
FLAMES
Fibre Large Array Multi-Element Spectrograph is a multi-object fibre feed unit for UVES and GIRAFFE, the latter allowing the capability for simultaneously studying hundreds of individual stars in nearby galaxies at moderate spectral resolution in the visible.
FORS1/FORS2
Focal Reducer and Low Dispersion Spectrograph is a visible light camera and Multi Object Spectrograph with a 6.8 arcminute field of view. FORS2 is an upgraded version over FORS1 and includes further multi-object spectroscopy capabilities. FORS1 was retired in 2009 to make space for X-SHOOTER; FORS2 continues to operate as of 2021.
GRAVITY (VLTI)
GRAVITY is an adaptive optics assisted, near-infrared (NIR) instrument for micro-arcsecond precision narrow-angle astrometry and interferometric phase referenced imaging of faint celestial objects. This instrument interferometrically combines NIR light collected by four telescopes at the VLTI.
HAWK-I
The High Acuity Wide field K-band Imager is a near-infrared imager with a relatively large field of view, about 8x8 arcminutes.
ISAAC
The Infrared Spectrometer And Array Camera was a near infrared imager and spectrograph; it operated successfully from 2000 to 2013 and was then retired to make way for SPHERE, since most of its capabilities can now be delivered by the newer HAWK-I or KMOS.
KMOS
KMOS is a cryogenic near-infrared multi-object spectrometer, observing 24 objects simultaneously, intended primarily for the study of distant galaxies.
MATISSE (VLTI)
The Multi Aperture Mid-Infrared Spectroscopic Experiment is an infrared spectro-interferometer of the VLT-Interferometer, which potentially combines the beams of all four Unit Telescopes (UTs) and four Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs). The instrument is used for image reconstruction. After 12 years of development It saw its first light at the telescope in Paranal in March 2018.
MIDI (VLTI)
MIDI is an instrument combining two telescopes of the VLT in the mid-infrared, dispersing the light in a spectrograph to analyse the dust composition and shape of the observed object. MIDI is notably the second most-productive interferometric instrument ever (surpassed by AMBER recently). MIDI was retired in March 2015 to prepare the VLTI for the arrival of GRAVITY and MATISSE.
MUSE
MUSE is a huge "3-dimensional" spectroscopic explorer which will provide complete visible spectra of all objects contained in "pencil beams" through the Universe.
NACO
NAOS-CONICA, NAOS meaning Nasmyth Adaptive Optics System and CONICA, meaning Coude Near Infrared Camera) is an adaptive optics facility which produces infrared images as sharp as if taken in space and includes spectroscopic, polarimetric and coronagraphic capabilities.
PIONIER (VLTI)
is an instrument to combine the light of all 8-metre telescopes, allowing to pick up details about 16 times finer than can be seen with one UT.
SINFONI
the Spectrograph for Integral Field Observations in the Near Infrared) was a medium resolution, near-infrared (1–2.5 micrometres) integral field spectrograph fed by an adaptive optics module. It operated from 2003, then retired in June 2019 to make space for the future ERIS.
SPHERE
The Spectro-Polarimetric High-Contrast Exoplanet Research, a high-contrast adaptive optics system dedicated to the discovery and study of exoplanets.
ULTRACAM
ULTRACAM is a visitor instrument for ultra-high-speed photometry of variable objects.
UVES
The Ultraviolet and Visual Echelle Spectrograph is a high-resolution ultraviolet and visible light echelle spectrograph.
VIMOS
The Visible Multi-Object Spectrograph delivered visible images and spectra of up to 1,000 galaxies at a time in a 14 × 14 arcmin field of view. It was mainly used for several large redshift surveys of distant galaxies, including VVDS, zCOSMOS and VIPERS. It was retired in 2018 to make space for the return of CRIRES+.
VINCI (VLTI)
was a test instrument combining two telescopes of the VLT. It was the first-light instrument of the VLTI and is no longer in use.
VISIR
The VLT spectrometer and imager for the mid-infrared provides diffraction-limited imaging and spectroscopy at a range of resolutions in the 10 and 20 micrometre mid-infrared (MIR) atmospheric windows. VISIR hosts the NEAR Science Demonstration, where NEAR is New Earths in the Alpha Centauri Region.
X-Shooter
X-Shooter is the first second-generation instrument, operating since 2009. It is a very wide-band [UV to near infrared] single-object spectrometer designed to explore the properties of rare, unusual or unidentified sources.
Instrument summary (as of 2019)
Instrument Type Wavelength range (nm) Resolution (arcsec) Spectral Resolution First light Unit Position
ESPRESSO Spectrometer 380–780 4 140000-180000 27 Nov 2017 1/all Coude
FLAMES Multi-object spectrometer 370–950 n/a 7500–30000 Aug 2002 UT2 Nasmyth A
FORS2 Imager/Spectrometer 330–1100 0.125 260–1600 1999 UT1 Cassegrain
GRAVITY Imager 2000–2400 0.003 22,500,4500 2015 all Interferometer
HAWK-I Near-IR Imager 900–2500 0.106 31 Jul 2006 UT4 Nasmyth A
KMOS Near-IR Spectrometer 800–2500 0.2 1500–5000 Nov 2012 UT1 Nasmyth B
MUSE Integral-field Spectrometer 365–930 0.2 1700–3400 Mar 2014 UT4 Nasmyth B
NACO AO Imager/Spectrometer 800–2500 400–1100 Oct 2001 UT1 Nasmyth A
PIONIER Imager 1500–2400 0.0025 Oct 2010 all Interferometer
SINFONI Near-IR IFU 1000–2500 0.05 1500–4000 Aug 2004 UT4 Cassegrain
SPHERE AO 500–2320 0.02 30–350 4 May 2014 UT3 Nasmyth A
UVES UV/Vis Spectrometer 300–500,420–1100 0.16 80000–110000 Sep 1999 UT2 Nasmyth B
VIMOS Imager/Multislit Spectrometer 360–1000,1100–1800 0.205 200–2500 26 Feb 2002 UT3 Nasmyth B
VISIR Mid-IR Spectrometer 16500–24500 2004 UT3 Cassegrain
X-SHOOTER UV-NIR Spectrometer 300–2500 4000–17000 Mar 2009 UT2 Cassegrain

Interferometry

All four 8.2-metre Unit Telescopes and 1.8-metre Auxiliary Telescopes were connected for the first time on March 17, 2011, becoming the VLT Interferometer (VLTI) with six baselines.

In its interferometric operating mode, the light from the telescopes is reflected off mirrors and directed through tunnels to a central beam combining laboratory. In the year 2001, during commissioning, the VLTI successfully measured the angular diameters of four red dwarfs including Proxima Centauri. During this operation it achieved an angular resolution of ±0.08 milli-arc-seconds (0.388 nano-radians). This is comparable to the resolution achieved using other arrays such as the Navy Prototype Optical Interferometer and the CHARA array. Unlike many earlier optical and infrared interferometers, the Astronomical Multi-Beam Recombiner (AMBER) instrument on VLTI was initially designed to perform coherent integration (which requires signal-to-noise greater than one in each atmospheric coherence time). Using the big telescopes and coherent integration, the faintest object the VLTI can observe is magnitude 7 in the near infrared for broadband observations, similar to many other near infrared / optical interferometers without fringe tracking. In 2011, an incoherent integration mode was introduced called AMBER "blind mode", which is more similar to the observation mode used at earlier interferometer arrays such as COAST, IOTA and CHARA. In this "blind mode", AMBER can observe sources as faint as K=10 in medium spectral resolution. At more challenging mid-infrared wavelengths, the VLTI can reach magnitude 4.5, significantly fainter than the Infrared Spatial Interferometer. When fringe tracking is introduced, the limiting magnitude of the VLTI is expected to improve by a factor of almost 1000, reaching a magnitude of about 14. This is similar to what is expected for other fringe tracking interferometers. In spectroscopic mode, the VLTI can currently reach a magnitude of 1.5. The VLTI can work in a fully integrated way, so that interferometric observations are actually quite simple to prepare and execute. The VLTI has become worldwide the first general user optical/infrared interferometric facility offered with this kind of service to the astronomical community.

First light for MATISSE interferometric instrument.

Because of the many mirrors involved in the optical train, about 95% of the light is lost before reaching the instruments at a wavelength of 1 μm, 90% at 2 μm and 75% at 10 μm. This refers to reflection off 32 surfaces including the Coudé train, the star separator, the main delay line, beam compressor and feeding optics. Additionally, the interferometric technique is such that it is very efficient only for objects that are small enough that all their light is concentrated. For instance, an object with a relatively low surface brightness such as the moon cannot be observed, because its light is too diluted. Only targets which are at temperatures of more than 1,000°C have a surface brightness high enough to be observed in the mid-infrared, and objects must be at several thousands of degrees Celsius for near-infrared observations using the VLTI. This includes most of the stars in the solar neighborhood and many extragalactic objects such as bright active galactic nuclei, but this sensitivity limit rules out interferometric observations of most solar-system objects. Although the use of large telescope diameters and adaptive optics correction can improve the sensitivity, this cannot extend the reach of optical interferometry beyond nearby stars and the brightest active galactic nuclei.

Because the Unit Telescopes are used most of the time independently, they are used in the interferometric mode mostly during bright time (that is, close to full moon). At other times, interferometry is done using 1.8 meter Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs), which are dedicated to full-time interferometric measurements. The first observations using a pair of ATs were conducted in February 2005, and all the four ATs have now been commissioned. For interferometric observations on the brightest objects, there is little benefit in using 8 meter telescopes rather than 1.8 meter telescopes.

The first two instruments at the VLTI were VINCI (a test instrument used to set up the system, now decommissioned) and MIDI, which only allow two telescopes to be used at any one time. With the installation of the three-telescope AMBER closure-phase instrument in 2005, the first imaging observations from the VLTI are expected soon.

Deployment of the Phase Referenced Imaging and Microarcsecond Astrometry (PRIMA) instrument started 2008 with the aim to allow phase-referenced measurements in either an astrometric two-beam mode or as a fringe-tracker successor to VINCI, operated concurrent with one of the other instruments.

After falling drastically behind schedule and failing to meet some specifications, in December 2004 the VLT Interferometer became the target of a second ESO "recovery plan". This involves additional effort concentrated on improvements to fringe tracking and the performance of the main delay lines. Note that this only applies to the interferometer and not other instruments on Paranal. In 2005, the VLTI was routinely producing observations, although with a brighter limiting magnitude and poorer observing efficiency than expected.

As of March 2008[update], the VLTI had already led to the publication of 89 peer-reviewed publications and had published a first-ever image of the inner structure of the mysterious Eta Carinae. In March 2011, the PIONIER instrument for the first time simultaneously combined the light of the four Unit Telescopes, potentially making VLTI the biggest optical telescope in the world. However, this attempt was not really a success. The first successful attempt was in February 2012, with four telescopes combined into a 130-meter diameter mirror.

In March 2019, ESO astronomers, employing the GRAVITY instrument on their Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI), announced the first direct detection of an exoplanet, HR 8799 e, using optical interferometry.

Moonset over Cerro Paranal
The Paranal Residencia and Basecamp at 2,400 meters (7,900 ft)
Inside the Paranal Residencia
A Wide View of the VLT with Its Laser in Operation.
The night sky at ESO's Paranal Observatory around twilight.

One of the large mirrors of the telescopes was the subject of an episode of the National Geographic Channel's reality series World's Toughest Fixes, where a crew of engineers removed and transported the mirror to be cleaned and re-coated with aluminium. The job required battling strong winds, fixing a broken pump in a giant washing machine and resolving a rigging issue.[citation needed]

The area surrounding the Very Large Telescope was featured in the 2008 film Quantum of Solace. The ESO Hotel, the Residencia, served as a backdrop for part of the James Bond movie. Producer Michael G. Wilson said: "The Residencia of Paranal Observatory caught the attention of our director, Marc Forster and production designer, Dennis Gassner, both for its exceptional design and its remote location in the Atacama desert. It is a true oasis and the perfect hide out for Dominic Greene, our villain, whom 007 is tracking in our new James Bond film."

Size comparison of primary mirrors. The dotted line shows the theoretical size of the VLT's combined mirrors (dark green).
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Very Large Telescope Article Talk Language Watch Edit The Very Large Telescope VLT is a telescope facility operated by the European Southern Observatory on Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile It consists of four individual telescopes each with a primary mirror 8 2 m across which are generally used separately but can be used together to achieve very high angular resolution 1 The four separate optical telescopes are known as Antu Kueyen Melipal and Yepun which are all words for astronomical objects in the Mapuche language The telescopes form an array complemented by four movable Auxiliary Telescopes ATs of 1 8 m aperture Very Large TelescopeThe four Unit Telescopes that form the VLT together with the four Auxiliary TelescopesAlternative namesVLTPart ofParanal Observatory Location s Antofagasta Region ChileCoordinates24 37 38 S 70 24 15 W 24 62733 S 70 40417 W 24 62733 70 40417 Coordinates 24 37 38 S 70 24 15 W 24 62733 S 70 40417 W 24 62733 70 40417OrganizationEuropean Southern Observatory Altitude2 635 m 8 645 ft Observing time340 nights per year Wavelength300 nm 20 mm N UV visible light NIR SWIR MWIR and LWIR First light1998 for the first Unit Telescope Telescope styleastronomical observatory Diameter4 x 8 2 metre Unit Telescopes UT 4 x 1 8 metre moveable Auxiliary Telescopes AT Angular resolution0 002 arcsecond Focal length120 m 393 ft 8 in Websitewww wbr eso wbr org wbr vltLocation of Very Large TelescopeRelated media on Wikimedia Commons edit on Wikidata The VLT operates at visible and infrared wavelengths Each individual telescope can detect objects roughly four billion times fainter than can be detected with the naked eye and when all the telescopes are combined the facility can achieve an angular resolution of about 0 002 arc second In single telescope mode of operation angular resolution is about 0 05 arc second 2 The VLT is the most productive ground based facility for astronomy with only the Hubble Space Telescope generating more scientific papers among facilities operating at visible wavelengths 3 Among the pioneering observations carried out using the VLT are the first direct image of an exoplanet the tracking of individual stars moving around the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way and observations of the afterglow of the furthest known gamma ray burst 4 Contents 1 General information 1 1 Unit telescopes 1 1 1 Mapuche names for the Unit Telescopes 1 2 Auxiliary telescopes 2 Scientific results 3 Technical details 3 1 Telescopes 3 2 Instruments 3 3 Interferometry 4 In popular culture 5 See also 6 References 7 External linksGeneral information Edit VLT s four Unit Telescopes The VLT consists of an arrangement of four large 8 2 metre diameter telescopes called Unit Telescopes or UTs with optical elements that can combine them into an astronomical interferometer VLTI which is used to resolve small objects The interferometer also includes a set of four 1 8 meter diameter movable telescopes dedicated to interferometric observations The first of the UTs started operating in May 1998 and was offered to the astronomical community on 1 April 1999 The other telescopes became operational in 1999 and 2000 enabling multi telescope VLT capability Four 1 8 metre Auxiliary Telescopes ATs have been added to the VLTI to make it available when the UTs are being used for other projects These ATs were installed and became operational between 2004 and 2007 1 The VLT s 8 2 meter telescopes were originally designed to operate in three modes 5 as a set of four independent telescopes this is the primary mode of operation as a single large coherent interferometric instrument the VLT Interferometer or VLTI for extra resolution This mode is used for observations of relatively bright sources with small angular extent as a single large incoherent instrument for extra light gathering capacity The instrumentation required to obtain a combined incoherent focus was not originally built In 2009 new instrumentation proposals were put forward to potentially make that observing mode available 6 Multiple telescopes are sometimes independently pointed at the same object either to increase the total light gathering power or to provide simultaneous observations with complementary instruments Unit telescopes Edit Laser used for adaptive optics It excites sodium atoms in the atmosphere and creates a laser guide star Upgrading Yepun UT4 with the Adaptive Optics Facility in 2012 8 Unit telescope undergoing inspection 7 The UTs are equipped with a large set of instruments permitting observations to be performed from the near ultraviolet to the mid infrared i e a large fraction of the light wavelengths accessible from the surface of the Earth with the full range of techniques including high resolution spectroscopy multi object spectroscopy imaging and high resolution imaging In particular the VLT has several adaptive optics systems which correct for the effects of atmospheric turbulence providing images almost as sharp as if the telescope were in space In the near infrared the adaptive optics images of the VLT are up to three times sharper than those of the Hubble Space Telescope and the spectroscopic resolution is many times better than Hubble The VLTs are noted for their high level of observing efficiency and automation The 8 2 m diameter telescopes are housed in compact thermally controlled buildings which rotate synchronously with the telescopes This design minimises any adverse effects on the observing conditions for instance from air turbulence in the telescope tube which might otherwise occur due to variations in the temperature and wind flow 4 The SPHERE instrument attached to the VLT Unit Telescope 3 9 The principal role of the main VLT telescopes is to operate as four independent telescopes The interferometry combining light from multiple telescopes is used about 20 percent of the time for very high resolution on bright objects for example on Betelgeuse This mode allows astronomers to see details up to 25 times finer than with the individual telescopes The light beams are combined in the VLTI using a complex system of mirrors in tunnels where the light paths must be kept equal within differences of less than 1 mm over a light path of a hundred metres With this kind of precision the VLTI can reconstruct images with an angular resolution of milliarcseconds 1 Mapuche names for the Unit Telescopes Edit The interior of Antu UT1 meaning sun in the Mapuche language It had long been ESO s intention to provide real names to the four VLT Unit Telescopes to replace the original technical designations of UT1 to UT4 In March 1999 at the time of the Paranal inauguration four meaningful names of objects in the sky in the Mapuche language were chosen This indigenous people lives mostly south of Santiago de Chile An essay contest was arranged in this connection among schoolchildren of the Chilean II Region of which Antofagasta is the capital to write about the implications of these names It drew many entries dealing with the cultural heritage of ESO s host country The winning essay was submitted by 17 year old Jorssy Albanez Castilla from Chuquicamata near the city of Calama She received the prize an amateur telescope during the inauguration of the Paranal site 10 Unit Telescopes 1 4 are since known as Antu Sun Kueyen Moon Melipal Southern Cross and Yepun Evening Star respectively 11 Originally there was some confusion as to whether Yepun actually stands for the evening star Venus because a Spanish Mapuche dictionary from the 1940s wrongly translated Yepun as Sirius 12 Auxiliary telescopes Edit Auxiliary Telescope the Residencia and the heart of the Milky Way 13 Although the four 8 2 metre Unit Telescopes can be combined in the VLTI their observation time is spent mostly on individual observations and are used for interferometric observations for a limited number of nights every year However the four smaller 1 8 metre ATs are available and dedicated to interferometry to allow the VLTI to operate every night 4 The top part of each AT is a round enclosure made from two sets of three segments which open and close Its job is to protect the delicate 1 8 metre telescope from the desert conditions The enclosure is supported by the boxy transporter section which also contains electronics cabinets liquid cooling systems air conditioning units power supplies and more During astronomical observations the enclosure and transporter are mechanically isolated from the telescope to ensure that no vibrations compromise the data collected 1 The transporter section runs on tracks so the ATs can be moved to 30 different observing locations As the VLTI acts rather like a single telescope as large as the group of telescopes combined changing the positions of the ATs means that the VLTI can be adjusted according to the needs of the observing project 1 The reconfigurable nature of the VLTI is similar to that of the Very Large Array Scientific results Edit The soft glow of the Milky Way can be seen behind the VLT Survey Telescope VST at ESO s Paranal Observatory 14 Results from the VLT have led to the publication of an average of more than one peer reviewed scientific paper per day For instance in 2017 over 600 refereed scientific papers were published based on VLT data 15 The telescope s scientific discoveries include direct imaging of Beta Pictoris b the first extrasolar planet so imaged 16 tracking individual stars moving around the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way 17 and observing the afterglow of the furthest known gamma ray burst 18 In 2018 the VLT helped to perform the first successful test of Einstein s General Relativity on the motion of a star passing through the extreme gravitational field near the supermassive black hole that is the gravitational redshift 19 In fact the observation has been conducted for over 26 years with the SINFONI and NACO adaptive optics instruments in the VLT while the new approach in 2018 also used the beam combiner instrument GRAVITY 20 The Galactic Centre team at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics MPE had use the observation revealed the effects for the first time 21 Other discoveries with VLT s signature include the detection of carbon monoxide molecules in a galaxy located almost 11 billion light years away for the first time a feat that had remained elusive for 25 years This has allowed astronomers to obtain the most precise measurement of the cosmic temperature at such a remote epoch 22 Another important study was that of the violent flares from the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way The VLT and APEX teamed up to reveal material being stretched out as it orbits in the intense gravity close to the central black hole 23 Using the VLT astronomers have also estimated the age of extremely old stars in the NGC 6397 cluster Based on stellar evolution models two stars were found to be 13 4 0 8 billion years old that is they are from the earliest era of star formation in the Universe 24 They have also analysed the atmosphere around a super Earth exoplanet for the first time using the VLT The planet which is known as GJ 1214b was studied as it passed in front of its parent star and some of the starlight passed through the planet s atmosphere 25 In all of the top 10 discoveries done at ESO s observatories seven made use of the VLT 26 Technical details EditTelescopes Edit Each Unit Telescope is a Ritchey Chretien Cassegrain telescope with a 22 tonne 8 2 metre Zerodur primary mirror of 14 4 m focal length and a 1 1 metre lightweight beryllium secondary mirror A flat tertiary mirror diverts the light to one of two instruments at the f 15 Nasmyth foci on either side with a system focal length of 120 m 27 or the tertiary tilts aside to allow light through the primary mirror central hole to a third instrument at the Cassegrain focus This allows switching between any of the three instruments within 5 minutes to match observing conditions Additional mirrors can send the light via tunnels to the central VLTI beam combiners The maximum field of view at Nasmyth foci is around 27 arcminutes diameter slightly smaller than the full moon though most instruments view a narrower field citation needed Each telescope has an alt azimuth mount with total mass around 350 tonnes and uses active optics with 150 supports on the back of the primary mirror to control the shape of the thin 177mm thick mirror by computers 28 Instruments Edit A diagram showing instruments at VLT SPHERE is an exoplanet imager 29 KMOS on the VLT s Antu UT1 at the time of first light in 2012 30 The AMBER instrument before its installation at the VLTI in 2003 MUSE mounted on VLT Yepun UT4 VIMOS the Visible Multi Object Spectrograph at Melipal UT3 X shooter spectrograph 2009 UVES spectrograph UT2 GRAVITY interferometer FORS 1 at the cassegrain focus UT2 The VLT instrumentation programme is the most ambitious programme ever conceived for a single observatory It includes large field imagers adaptive optics corrected cameras and spectrographs as well as high resolution and multi object spectrographs and covers a broad spectral region from deep ultraviolet 300 nm to mid infrared 24 mm wavelengths 1 Instruments on the VLT in 2019 31 32 UT Telescope name Cassegrain Focus Nasmyth Focus A Nasmyth Focus B1 Antu FORS2 NACO KMOS2 Kueyen X Shooter FLAMES UVES3 Melipal VISIR SPHERE4 Yepun SINFONI HAWK I MUSEAMBER VLTI The Astronomical Multi Beam Recombiner instrument combines three telescopes of the VLT at the same time dispersing the light in a spectrograph to analyse the composition and shape of the observed object AMBER is notably the most productive interferometric instrument ever 33 CRIRES and CRIRES The Cryogenic Infrared Echelle Spectrograph is an adaptive optics assisted echelle spectrograph It provides a resolving power of up to 100 000 in the infrared spectral range from 1 to 5 micrometres From 2014 to 2020 it underwent a major upgrade to CRIRES to provide ten times larger simultaneous wavelength coverage A new detector focal plane array of three Hawaii 2RG detectors with a 5 3 mm cut off wavelength replaced the existing detectors a new spectropolarimetric unit is added and the calibration system is enhanced One of the scientific objectives of CRIRES is in transit spectroscopy of exoplanets which currently provides us with the only means of studying exoplanetary atmospheres Transiting planets are almost always close in planets that are hot and radiate most of their light in the infrared IR Furthermore the IR is a spectral region where lines of molecular gases like carbon monoxide CO ammonia NH3 and methane CH4 etc are expected from the exoplanetary atmosphere This important wavelength region is covered by CRIRES which will additionally allow tracking multiple absorption lines simultaneously 34 ESPRESSO Echelle Spectrograph for Rocky Exoplanet and Stable Spectroscopic Observations is a high resolution fiber fed and cross dispersed echelle spectrograph for the visible wavelength range capable of operating in 1 UT mode using one of the four telescopes and in 4 UT mode using all four for the search for rocky extra solar planets in the habitable zone of their host stars Its main feature is the spectroscopic stability and the radial velocity precision The requirement is to reach 10 cm s but the aimed goal is to obtain a precision level of few cm s ESPRESSO was installed and commissioned at the VLT in 2017 18 35 36 needs update FLAMES Fibre Large Array Multi Element Spectrograph is a multi object fibre feed unit for UVES and GIRAFFE the latter allowing the capability for simultaneously studying hundreds of individual stars in nearby galaxies at moderate spectral resolution in the visible FORS1 FORS2 Focal Reducer and Low Dispersion Spectrograph is a visible light camera and Multi Object Spectrograph with a 6 8 arcminute field of view FORS2 is an upgraded version over FORS1 and includes further multi object spectroscopy capabilities FORS1 was retired in 2009 to make space for X SHOOTER FORS2 continues to operate as of 2021 37 GRAVITY VLTI GRAVITY is an adaptive optics assisted near infrared NIR instrument for micro arcsecond precision narrow angle astrometry and interferometric phase referenced imaging of faint celestial objects This instrument interferometrically combines NIR light collected by four telescopes at the VLTI 38 HAWK I The High Acuity Wide field K band Imager is a near infrared imager with a relatively large field of view about 8x8 arcminutes ISAAC The Infrared Spectrometer And Array Camera was a near infrared imager and spectrograph it operated successfully from 2000 to 2013 and was then retired to make way for SPHERE since most of its capabilities can now be delivered by the newer HAWK I or KMOS KMOS KMOS is a cryogenic near infrared multi object spectrometer observing 24 objects simultaneously intended primarily for the study of distant galaxies MATISSE VLTI The Multi Aperture Mid Infrared Spectroscopic Experiment is an infrared spectro interferometer of the VLT Interferometer which potentially combines the beams of all four Unit Telescopes UTs and four Auxiliary Telescopes ATs The instrument is used for image reconstruction After 12 years of development It saw its first light at the telescope in Paranal in March 2018 39 40 41 MIDI VLTI MIDI is an instrument combining two telescopes of the VLT in the mid infrared dispersing the light in a spectrograph to analyse the dust composition and shape of the observed object MIDI is notably the second most productive interferometric instrument ever surpassed by AMBER recently MIDI was retired in March 2015 to prepare the VLTI for the arrival of GRAVITY and MATISSE MUSE MUSE is a huge 3 dimensional spectroscopic explorer which will provide complete visible spectra of all objects contained in pencil beams through the Universe 42 NACO NAOS CONICA NAOS meaning Nasmyth Adaptive Optics System and CONICA meaning Coude Near Infrared Camera is an adaptive optics facility which produces infrared images as sharp as if taken in space and includes spectroscopic polarimetric and coronagraphic capabilities PIONIER VLTI is an instrument to combine the light of all 8 metre telescopes allowing to pick up details about 16 times finer than can be seen with one UT 43 SINFONI the Spectrograph for Integral Field Observations in the Near Infrared was a medium resolution near infrared 1 2 5 micrometres integral field spectrograph fed by an adaptive optics module It operated from 2003 then retired in June 2019 to make space for the future ERIS 44 SPHERE The Spectro Polarimetric High Contrast Exoplanet Research a high contrast adaptive optics system dedicated to the discovery and study of exoplanets 45 46 ULTRACAM ULTRACAM is a visitor instrument for ultra high speed photometry of variable objects UVES The Ultraviolet and Visual Echelle Spectrograph is a high resolution ultraviolet and visible light echelle spectrograph VIMOS The Visible Multi Object Spectrograph delivered visible images and spectra of up to 1 000 galaxies at a time in a 14 14 arcmin field of view It was mainly used for several large redshift surveys of distant galaxies including VVDS zCOSMOS and VIPERS It was retired in 2018 to make space for the return of CRIRES 44 VINCI VLTI was a test instrument combining two telescopes of the VLT It was the first light instrument of the VLTI and is no longer in use VISIR The VLT spectrometer and imager for the mid infrared provides diffraction limited imaging and spectroscopy at a range of resolutions in the 10 and 20 micrometre mid infrared MIR atmospheric windows VISIR hosts the NEAR Science Demonstration where NEAR is New Earths in the Alpha Centauri Region 47 X Shooter X Shooter is the first second generation instrument operating since 2009 It is a very wide band UV to near infrared single object spectrometer designed to explore the properties of rare unusual or unidentified sources Instrument summary as of 2019 31 Instrument Type Wavelength range nm Resolution arcsec Spectral Resolution First light Unit PositionESPRESSO Spectrometer 380 780 4 140000 180000 27 Nov 2017 1 all CoudeFLAMES Multi object spectrometer 370 950 n a 7500 30000 Aug 2002 UT2 Nasmyth AFORS2 Imager Spectrometer 330 1100 0 125 260 1600 1999 UT1 CassegrainGRAVITY Imager 2000 2400 0 003 22 500 4500 2015 all InterferometerHAWK I Near IR Imager 900 2500 0 106 31 Jul 2006 UT4 Nasmyth AKMOS Near IR Spectrometer 800 2500 0 2 1500 5000 Nov 2012 UT1 Nasmyth BMUSE Integral field Spectrometer 365 930 0 2 1700 3400 Mar 2014 UT4 Nasmyth BNACO AO Imager Spectrometer 800 2500 400 1100 Oct 2001 UT1 Nasmyth APIONIER Imager 1500 2400 0 0025 Oct 2010 all InterferometerSINFONI Near IR IFU 1000 2500 0 05 1500 4000 Aug 2004 UT4 CassegrainSPHERE AO 500 2320 0 02 30 350 4 May 2014 UT3 Nasmyth AUVES UV Vis Spectrometer 300 500 420 1100 0 16 80000 110000 Sep 1999 UT2 Nasmyth BVIMOS Imager Multislit Spectrometer 360 1000 1100 1800 0 205 200 2500 26 Feb 2002 UT3 Nasmyth BVISIR Mid IR Spectrometer 16500 24500 2004 UT3 CassegrainX SHOOTER UV NIR Spectrometer 300 2500 4000 17000 Mar 2009 UT2 CassegrainInterferometry Edit All four 8 2 metre Unit Telescopes and 1 8 metre Auxiliary Telescopes were connected for the first time on March 17 2011 becoming the VLT Interferometer VLTI with six baselines 48 In its interferometric operating mode the light from the telescopes is reflected off mirrors and directed through tunnels to a central beam combining laboratory In the year 2001 during commissioning the VLTI successfully measured the angular diameters of four red dwarfs including Proxima Centauri During this operation it achieved an angular resolution of 0 08 milli arc seconds 0 388 nano radians This is comparable to the resolution achieved using other arrays such as the Navy Prototype Optical Interferometer and the CHARA array Unlike many earlier optical and infrared interferometers the Astronomical Multi Beam Recombiner AMBER instrument on VLTI was initially designed to perform coherent integration which requires signal to noise greater than one in each atmospheric coherence time Using the big telescopes and coherent integration the faintest object the VLTI can observe is magnitude 7 in the near infrared for broadband observations 49 similar to many other near infrared optical interferometers without fringe tracking In 2011 an incoherent integration mode was introduced 50 called AMBER blind mode which is more similar to the observation mode used at earlier interferometer arrays such as COAST IOTA and CHARA In this blind mode AMBER can observe sources as faint as K 10 in medium spectral resolution At more challenging mid infrared wavelengths the VLTI can reach magnitude 4 5 significantly fainter than the Infrared Spatial Interferometer When fringe tracking is introduced the limiting magnitude of the VLTI is expected to improve by a factor of almost 1000 reaching a magnitude of about 14 This is similar to what is expected for other fringe tracking interferometers In spectroscopic mode the VLTI can currently reach a magnitude of 1 5 The VLTI can work in a fully integrated way so that interferometric observations are actually quite simple to prepare and execute The VLTI has become worldwide the first general user optical infrared interferometric facility offered with this kind of service to the astronomical community 51 First light for MATISSE interferometric instrument 41 Because of the many mirrors involved in the optical train about 95 of the light is lost before reaching the instruments at a wavelength of 1 mm 90 at 2 mm and 75 at 10 mm 52 This refers to reflection off 32 surfaces including the Coude train the star separator the main delay line beam compressor and feeding optics Additionally the interferometric technique is such that it is very efficient only for objects that are small enough that all their light is concentrated For instance an object with a relatively low surface brightness such as the moon cannot be observed because its light is too diluted Only targets which are at temperatures of more than 1 000 C have a surface brightness high enough to be observed in the mid infrared and objects must be at several thousands of degrees Celsius for near infrared observations using the VLTI This includes most of the stars in the solar neighborhood and many extragalactic objects such as bright active galactic nuclei but this sensitivity limit rules out interferometric observations of most solar system objects Although the use of large telescope diameters and adaptive optics correction can improve the sensitivity this cannot extend the reach of optical interferometry beyond nearby stars and the brightest active galactic nuclei Because the Unit Telescopes are used most of the time independently they are used in the interferometric mode mostly during bright time that is close to full moon At other times interferometry is done using 1 8 meter Auxiliary Telescopes ATs which are dedicated to full time interferometric measurements The first observations using a pair of ATs were conducted in February 2005 and all the four ATs have now been commissioned For interferometric observations on the brightest objects there is little benefit in using 8 meter telescopes rather than 1 8 meter telescopes The first two instruments at the VLTI were VINCI a test instrument used to set up the system now decommissioned and MIDI 53 which only allow two telescopes to be used at any one time With the installation of the three telescope AMBER closure phase instrument in 2005 the first imaging observations from the VLTI are expected soon Deployment of the Phase Referenced Imaging and Microarcsecond Astrometry PRIMA instrument started 2008 with the aim to allow phase referenced measurements in either an astrometric two beam mode or as a fringe tracker successor to VINCI operated concurrent with one of the other instruments 54 55 56 After falling drastically behind schedule and failing to meet some specifications in December 2004 the VLT Interferometer became the target of a second ESO recovery plan This involves additional effort concentrated on improvements to fringe tracking and the performance of the main delay lines Note that this only applies to the interferometer and not other instruments on Paranal In 2005 the VLTI was routinely producing observations although with a brighter limiting magnitude and poorer observing efficiency than expected As of March 2008 update the VLTI had already led to the publication of 89 peer reviewed publications 57 and had published a first ever image of the inner structure of the mysterious Eta Carinae 58 In March 2011 the PIONIER instrument for the first time simultaneously combined the light of the four Unit Telescopes potentially making VLTI the biggest optical telescope in the world 43 However this attempt was not really a success 59 The first successful attempt was in February 2012 with four telescopes combined into a 130 meter diameter mirror 59 In March 2019 ESO astronomers employing the GRAVITY instrument on their Very Large Telescope Interferometer VLTI announced the first direct detection of an exoplanet HR 8799 e using optical interferometry 60 Moonset over Cerro Paranal The Paranal Residencia and Basecamp at 2 400 meters 7 900 ft Inside the Paranal Residencia A Wide View of the VLT with Its Laser in Operation The night sky at ESO s Paranal Observatory around twilight In popular culture EditOne of the large mirrors of the telescopes was the subject of an episode of the National Geographic Channel s reality series World s Toughest Fixes where a crew of engineers removed and transported the mirror to be cleaned and re coated with aluminium The job required battling strong winds fixing a broken pump in a giant washing machine and resolving a rigging issue citation needed The area surrounding the Very Large Telescope was featured in the 2008 film Quantum of Solace The ESO Hotel the Residencia served as a backdrop for part of the James Bond movie 4 Producer Michael G Wilson said The Residencia of Paranal Observatory caught the attention of our director Marc Forster and production designer Dennis Gassner both for its exceptional design and its remote location in the Atacama desert It is a true oasis and the perfect hide out for Dominic Greene our villain whom 007 is tracking in our new James Bond film 61 See also Edit Size comparison of primary mirrors The dotted line shows the theoretical size of the VLT s combined mirrors dark green Cerro Tololo Inter American Observatory Extremely large telescope European Extremely Large Telescope Thirty Meter Telescope Giant Magellan Telescope La Silla Observatory List of largest optical reflecting telescopes Llano de Chajnantor Observatory Mauna Kea Observatories Overwhelmingly Large Telescope Paranal Observatory Roque de los Muchachos ObservatoryReferences Edit a b c d e f The Very Large Telescope ESO Retrieved 2011 08 05 FAQ VLT Paranal www eso org Trimble V Ceja J A 2010 Productivity and impact of astronomical facilities A recent sample PDF Astronomische Nachrichten 331 3 338 Bibcode 2010AN 331 338T doi 10 1002 asna 200911339 a b c d The Very Large Telescope The World s Most Advanced Visible light Astronomical Observatory handout ESO Retrieved 2011 08 05 Science with the VLT in the ELT Era PDF Archived from the original PDF on 2012 03 09 Retrieved 2013 06 17 Pasquini Luca et al 2009 ESPRESSO A High Resolution Spectrograph for the Combined Coude Focus of the VLT Science with the VLT in the ELT Era PDF Astrophysics and Space Science Proceedings Vol 9 pp 395 399 Bibcode 2009ASSP 9 395P CiteSeerX 10 1 1 218 6892 doi 10 1007 978 1 4020 9190 2 68 ISBN 978 1 4020 9189 6 Archived from the original PDF on June 9 2015 A very large eye exam www eso org Getting the VLT Ready for Even Sharper Images ESO Picture of the Week Retrieved 14 May 2012 The Strange Case of the Missing Dwarf ESO Press Release European Southern Observatory Retrieved 27 February 2015 VLT Unit Telescopes Named at Paranal Inauguration ESO 6 March 1999 Retrieved 2011 05 04 Names of VLT Unit Telescopes Retrieved 2011 05 04 On the Meaning of YEPUN Retrieved 2011 05 04 From the Residencia to the Milky Way www eso org Retrieved 7 August 2017 Orion Watches over Paranal Retrieved 2 March 2020 ESO Publication Statistics PDF Retrieved 2018 08 06 Beta Pictoris planet finally imaged ESO 21 November 2008 Retrieved 2011 05 04 Unprecedented 16 Year Long Study Tracks Stars Orbiting Milky Way Black Hole ESO 10 December 2008 Retrieved 2011 05 04 NASA s Swift Catches Farthest Ever Gamma Ray Burst NASA 19 September 2008 Retrieved 2011 05 04 First Successful Test of Einstein s General Relativity Near Supermassive Black Hole Culmination of 26 years of ESO observations of the heart of the Milky Way www eso org Retrieved 2018 07 28 GRAVITY Collaboration Abuter R Amorim A Anugu N Baubock M Benisty M Berger J P Blind N Bonnet H 2018 07 24 Detection of the gravitational redshift in the orbit of the star S2 near the Galactic centre massive black hole Astronomy amp Astrophysics 615 15 L15 arXiv 1807 09409 Bibcode 2018A amp A 615L 15G doi 10 1051 0004 6361 201833718 S2CID 118891445 First Successful Test of Einstein s General Relativity Near Supermassive Black Hole www mpe mpg de Retrieved 2018 07 28 A Molecular Thermometer for the Distant Universe ESO 13 May 2008 Retrieved 2011 04 05 Astronomers detect matter torn apart by black hole ESO 18 October 2008 Retrieved 2011 04 05 How Old is the Milky Way ESO 17 August 2004 Retrieved 2011 04 05 VLT Captures First Direct Spectrum of an Exoplanet ESO 13 January 2010 Retrieved 2011 04 05 ESO Top 10 Astronomical Discoveries ESO Retrieved 2011 08 05 Requirements for Scientific Instruments of the VLT Unit Telescopes PDF ESO Retrieved 2018 01 18 Dierickx P Enard D Geyl R Paseri J Cayrel M Beraud P The VLT primary mirrors mirror production and measured performance ESO Exoplanet Imager SPHERE Shipped to Chile ESO 18 February 2014 Retrieved 12 March 2014 24 armed Giant to Probe Early Lives of Galaxies Press release ESO Retrieved 12 December 2012 a b VLT Instruments ESO Retrieved 2019 02 13 Paranal Observatory Instrumentation ESO Retrieved 2019 02 13 most productive interferometric instrument ever Archived from the original on June 9 2015 CRIRES ESO Retrieved 2020 10 24 Espresso University of Porto Retrieved 2021 07 21 ESPRESSO ESO Retrieved 2015 10 05 FORS FOcal Reducer and low dispersion Spectrograph ESO 7 September 2014 GRAVITY Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics Retrieved 2021 04 05 MATISSE the Multi AperTure mid Infrared SpectroScopic Experiment ESO 25 September 2014 Retrieved 3 July 2015 Lopez B Lagarde S Jaffe W Petrov R Scholler M Antonelli P et al 14 September 2014 An Overview of the MATISSE Instrument Science Concept and Current Status PDF The Messenger 157 5 Bibcode 2014Msngr 157 5L a b MATISSE Instrument Sees First Light on ESO s Very Large Telescope Interferometer Most powerful interferometric instrument ever at mid infrared wavelengths ESO Retrieved 5 March 2018 Muse ESO Retrieved 2013 06 17 a b ann11021 Light from all Four VLT Unit Telescopes Combined for the First Time ESO 2011 04 20 Retrieved 2013 06 17 a b Paranal decommissioned instruments Retrieved 21 July 2021 Sphere ESO Retrieved 2015 07 02 First Light for SPHERE Exoplanet Imager Press release ESO 4 June 2014 Retrieved 25 May 2021 ESO NEAR Science Demonstration Light from all Four VLT Unit Telescopes Combined for the First Time Press release ESO 20 April 2011 AMBER Astronomical Multi BEam combineR ESO Retrieved 2013 06 17 AMBER blind mode Fizeau oca eu 2012 01 01 Archived from the original on 2012 03 26 Retrieved 2013 06 17 Observing with the ESO VLT Interferometer ESO 2006 06 29 Archived from the original on 2012 10 20 Retrieved 2013 06 17 Puech F Gitton P 2006 Interface Control Document between VLTI and its instruments Technical report VLT ICD ESO 15000 1826 Mid Infrared Interferometric instrument ESO Retrieved 2013 06 17 Sahlmann J Menardi S Abuter R Accardo M Mottini S Delplancke F 2009 The PRIMA fringe sensor unit Astronomical Astrophysics 507 3 1739 1757 arXiv 0909 1470 Bibcode 2009A amp A 507 1739S doi 10 1051 0004 6361 200912271 S2CID 274903 Delplancke Francoise 2008 The PRIMA facility phase referenced imaging and micro arcsecond astrometry New Astronomical Review 52 2 5 189 207 Bibcode 2008NewAR 52 199D doi 10 1016 j newar 2008 04 016 Sahlmann J Abuter R Menardi S Schmid C Di Lieto N Delplancke F Frahm R Gomes N Haguenauer P et al 2010 Danchi William C Delplancke Francoise Rajagopal Jayadev K eds First results from fringe tracking with the PRIMA fringe sensor unit Proceedings of the Society of Photo Optical Instrumentation Engineers Optical and Infrared Interferometry II 7734 7734 773422 773422 12 arXiv 1012 1321 Bibcode 2010SPIE 7734E 22S doi 10 1117 12 856896 S2CID 118479949 ESO Telescope Bibliography ESO Retrieved 2013 06 17 eso0706b The Inner Winds of Eta Carinae ESO 2007 02 23 Retrieved 2013 06 17 a b Moskvitch Katia 2012 02 03 K Moskvitch Four telescope link up creates world s largest mirror BBC News Retrieved 2013 06 17 European Southern Observatory 27 March 2019 GRAVITY instrument breaks new ground in exoplanet imaging EurekAlert Retrieved 27 March 2019 A Giant of Astronomy and a Quantum of Solace Blockbuster shooting in Paranal ESO 25 March 2008 Retrieved 2011 08 05 External links Edit Media related to Very Large Telescope at Wikimedia Commons ESO VLT official site for the 8 m and 1 8 m telescopes ESO VLTI official site for the interferometer combining the telescopes Auxiliary Telescopes Very Large Telescope Interferometer Full list of the VLT instruments including those of VLTI WorldWide Telescope Web Client including archives from the VLT VLT images ESO Interferometry Delay Lines for the Very Large Telescopes Dutch Space Travelogue VLT Visit World s Toughest Fixes Bond Paranal website Portals Astronomy Stars Spaceflight Outer space Solar System Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Very Large Telescope amp oldid 1093115859, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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