Very Large Telescope mirror inspection

Very Large Telescope mirror inspection

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Credit: PATRICK LANDMANN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Very Large Telescope (VLT) mirror inspection. Engineers checking the optical defects of the primary 8.2-metre-wide mirror of one of the four VLT units during its construction. Following this inspection, the mirror will be ground down to a precision of less than half a micrometre. The VLT is an array of four telescopes built and operated by the European Southern Observatory at Paranal in Chile. The combined observations, equivalent to using a 16-metre-wide mirror, make the VLT one of the world's most powerful telescopes. It was built in the 1990s by REOSC, the optical department of the SAGEM group, and began operating in 2001. Photographed in Saint-Pierre du Perray, France.

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