VLT telescope, Paranal Observatory

VLT telescope, Paranal Observatory

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Credit: ADAM HART-DAVIS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: VLT telescope. Enclosure (centre right) housing one of the four telescopes at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at Paranal Observatory in Cerro Paranal, Chile. The VLT comprises four 8.2-metre mirror telescopes (Antu, Kueyen, Melipal and Yepun). The images from each are combined to produce an image equal to that obtained by one 16 metre diameter mirror. This makes the VLT one of the most powerful telescopes in the world. The mirrors are flexible and are constantly adjusted by computers to compensate for errors. At sunset, the enclosure is opened to stabilise the internal temperature before starting observations. The VLT is operated by the European Southern Observatory. It is at an altitude of 2600 metres in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on Earth.

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