Very Large Telescope mirror polishing

Very Large Telescope mirror polishing

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Credit: PATRICK LANDMANN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Very Large Telescope (VLT) mirror polishing. Polishing machines being used to remove optical defects during the construction of the primary 8. 2-metre-wide mirror of one of the four VLT units. The polishing will ensure accuracy 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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