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CANARIES - Huge Telescope Opens At Roque De Los Muchachos Observatory

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Author Topic: CANARIES - Huge Telescope Opens At Roque De Los Muchachos Observatory  (Read 1767 times)
Bianca
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« on: July 25, 2009, 06:51:23 am »







The Gran Telescopio Canarias, one of the the world's largest telescopes is seen at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory in the Canary Island of La Palma, Spain, Friday July 24, 2009. The euro130 million (US$179 million) telescope, designed to take advantage of pristine, clear skies at the Roque de los Muchachos observatory atop the Atlantic island of La Palma, was inaugurated Friday.
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Bianca
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« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2009, 06:53:04 am »










                                       Huge telescope opens in the Canary Islands
         





Carlos Moreno,
Associated Press Writer – Fri Jul 24, 2009
LA PALMA,
Canary Islands

– One of the world's most powerful telescopes opened its shutters for the first time Friday to begin exploring faint light from distant parts of the universe. The Gran Telescopio Canarias, a euro130 million ($185 million) telescope featuring a 34-foot (10.4-meter) reflecting mirror, sits atop an extinct volcano. Its location above cloud cover takes advantage of the pristine skies in the Atlantic Ocean.

Planning for the telescope began in 1987 and has involved more than 1,000 people from 100 companies. It was inaugurated Friday by King Juan Carlos.

The observatory is located at 2,400 meters (7,870 feet) above sea-level where prevailing winds keep the atmosphere stable and transparent, the Canary Islands Astrophysics Institute said.

The institute, which runs the telescope, said it will capture the birth of stars, study characteristics of black holes and decipher some of the chemical components of the Big Bang.

The telescope is composed of 36 separate mirrors that began slowly focusing in July 2007 to eventually act as a single large reflecting surface that directs light onto a central camera point.

Among those who have done research at La Palma is Brian May, lead guitarist of rock group Queen, who studied there for part of his doctorate in astrophysics at the institute.

May, who published "BANG! The Complete History of the Universe" with astronomers Patrick Moore and Chris Lintott, composed a musical score for the telescope's inauguration.

Large reflecting telescopes began making major contributions to astronomical research when Edwin Hubble perfected the technique of capturing photographic exposures of space with the then-massive 200-inch mirror at Mount Palomar Observatory, in north San Diego County, California in Jan. 1949.

____

Associated Press Writer Harold Heckle in Madrid contributed to this report.
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Bianca
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« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2009, 06:54:11 am »










                                 King of Spain inaugurates giant telescope on La Palma
         



 

Fri Jul 24, 2009
LA PALMA,
Canary Islands
(AFP)

– Spain's King Juan Carlos on Friday inaugurated a huge telescope on the Canary Islands, billed as the world's biggest scope for visible and infrared light.

Scientists behind the Great Canary Telescope (GTC) say it marks a big technological step forward and will allow researchers to peer into the darkest and most distant corners of space.

The telescope, housed in a mountaintop observatory on the island of La Palma, will help astronomers with a wide range of research, from discovering new planets to exploring galaxies and analysing black holes.

At a cost of more than 100 million euros (143 million dollars), the device is made up of 36 separate pieces.

They fit together to form a huge circular mirror which collects light on a surface almost 82 square metres in size, according to the scope's developer, the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canaries (IAC).

The IAC says is it is the largest device of its kind in the world and is bigger than the American Keck observatory in Hawaii and the four European VLT telescopes in Chile.

Project director Pedro Alvarez said the GTC will be one of the world's leading telescopes in the coming decade.

The observatory has been working partially since March with one of its optical devices, Osiris, which picks up objects visible to the naked eye, such as stellar explosions called supernovas.

The telescope cost 104 million euros, 90 percent of which came from the Spanish government.

The rest was paid for by Mexico and the University of Florida in the United States.
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Bianca
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« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2009, 09:14:33 pm »










                                                      World's Largest Telescope Unveiled   





 
National Geographic News
August 6, 2009

--A low-hanging sun brightens the fields around the dome of the Gran Telescopio Canarias,
or GTC, the latest addition to the handful of Earth-based optical telescopes designed to
study the heavens.

Crowds gathered last week on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands--a Spanish territory--to watch Spanish King Juan Carlos inaugurate the U.S. $180-million GTC, which is co-owned by Spain, Mexico, and the University of Florida in the U.S.

Boasting a segmented mirror 34 feet (10.4 meters) wide, the GTC is the largest telescope of its kind in the world--for now. Three larger telescopes are slated for completion in 2018: The Thirty Meter Telescope, with its 90-foot (30-meter) mirror, is planned for the top of Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano, while the 80-foot (24.5-meter) Giant Magellan Telescope will be built in the mountains of Las Campanas, Chile.

The European Extremely Large Telescope, which currently doesn't have a site selected, will boast an unprecedented 137.7-foot (42-meter) primary mirror.



—Photograph by
   Pablo Bonet 
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« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2009, 09:17:23 pm »








Like a high-tech pearl on the half-shell, the GTC is framed by its protectie dome surrounded by a sea of nighttime clouds.

The new observatory--inaugurated on July 31, 2009--sits 7,874 feet (2,400 meters) above sea level on the Roque de los Muchachos, the highest point on the tiny island of La Palma, the northwesternmost member of the Canary Islands (see map).

The site has little light pollution, mostly cloud-free skies, and a thin atmosphere, making it ideal for optical and infrared astronomy.



—Photograph by
   Pablo Bonet
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« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2009, 09:22:00 pm »







An open slot in the telescope's dome exposes the top of the hexagonal steel structure that holds the GTC's mirrors.

In addition to preventing buildup on the surface of the observatory's sensitive mirrors, the large dome protects the telescope from wind turbulence and other vibrations that can affect image quality.


—Photograph by
   Pablo Bonet
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« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2009, 09:24:21 pm »








A camera fitted with a fish-eye lens peers into the steel frame holding the GTC's shiny main mirror.

The mirror is made of 36 smaller hexagonal mirrors that fit together like a honeybee's comb. That's because a single mirror 34 feet (10.4 meters) wide would be so heavy that its surface would deform, skewing the light from distant objects and making the data virtually useless.

Instead, the smaller mirrors can be carefully calibrated so that they act as one seamless light collector.



—Photograph by
   Pablo Bonet
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« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2009, 09:25:56 pm »








Cables feed into the steel structure supporting the GTC's system of mirrors in a close-up.

In addition to solving the mirror's weight problem, having many smaller segments allows the GTC to practice a relatively new observing technique called adaptive optics. Each of the 36 small mirrors can be moved and ever-so-slightly reshaped thousands of times a second to correct for the blurring effect Earth's atmosphere has on light from distant objects.

This technique combined with the size of its main mirror should allow the GTC to "see" black holes and galaxies millions of light-years away in unprecedented detail.



—Photograph courtesy
  Gran Telescopio Canarias
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« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2009, 09:26:46 pm »







A worker gazes up at the steel structure housing the GTC's mirrors. The observatory's primary mirror was completed in April 2009, and a team from the University of Florida made some of the first scientific observations with the telescope in May.

Astronomer Eric Ford and colleagues used the GTC to study a star known to have an orbiting planet about the size of Jupiter. The team hopes analysis of the data will help scientists understand how planets contract in size as their stars age.

Overall, project managers hope the new telescope will be instrumental in studying the early universe and the births and deaths of galaxies, stars, and planets, as well as in discovering new planets outside our solar system.



—Photograph by
   Pablo Bonet
« Last Edit: August 07, 2009, 09:35:09 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2009, 09:27:44 pm »





             
« Last Edit: August 07, 2009, 09:39:23 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2009, 09:28:52 pm »




             

              GRAN CANARIA ISLAND
« Last Edit: August 07, 2009, 09:48:29 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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