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 carrying out precision checks on the primary 8.2-metre-wide mirror of one of the four VLT units during its construction. The checks last a month to ensure no defects remain and that the curvature is perfect. 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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