Science is the poetry of Nature.

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Posts tagged "Telescope"


Milky Way Meets Desert Sky by Babak Tafreshi

As seen on the National Geographic News our Milky Way galaxy gleams in all its splendor, as seen from La Silla observatory in the southern outskirts of the Atacama Desert, Chile.

The clear, high altitude dry desert air provides a perfect home for the La Silla, operated by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), where the 3.6-meter New Technology Telescope (NTT) makes its nightly rounds of the sky’s far reaches.

The telescope rests between the open doors in the photo. The Milky Way spans more than 100,000 light-years across, putting Earth in the cosmic suburbs, some 27,000 light-years away from the brightly glowing center of the galaxy, seen at the center of this image.

Visible to the left of the Milky Way is the bright orange star Antares at the heart of Scorpius (The Scorpion). Saturn can be seen as the brightest point to the upper left of Antares and Alpha and Beta Centauri glow in the upper right of the image. The Southern Cross (Crux) and the Coalsack dark nebula are also visible at the upper right corner.


Sunrise over the Mayall 4-meter Telescope

Morning sun cast on the Mayall 4-meter Telescope, Kitt Peak National Observatory.

(via afro-dominicano)


Interior of the 2.1-m Telescope

  Interior view of the NOAO 2.1-meter telescope on Kitt Peak National Observatory.


Interior of the 2.1-m Telescope

Interior view of the NOAO 2.1-meter telescope on Kitt Peak National Observatory.


Laser to The Night Sky

ESO’s observatories are privileged spots where astrophotographers can catch amazing views of the cosmos.

But that’s not all — sometimes, they are ideal locations from which to capture otherworldly images of our own planet, too. In this shot, ESO photo ambassador Gabriel Brammer has used a fish-eye lens to create this spectacular round effect. The clear sky over Paranal looks like a glass ball full of stars, with the Very Large Telescope (VLT) platform framing the picture.

In the bottom left the four VLT Unit Telescopes, each some 25 metres tall, are observing the night sky, one of them pointing its laser up into the night. Scattered around the top left of the frame, the round domes of the VLT Auxiliary Telescopes are easily spotted under the bright Milky Way. The two blurry smudges just above the laser are the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, two of the closest galaxies to our own.

This image is created from a number of different wide-angle pictures, stitched together to show the complete view.


High-Tech Telescope ‘MUSE’ Creates 3D Views of the Universe

A new telescope tool for peering into the cosmos and creating three-dimensional views of the universe has passed its first major test at a European observatory in Chile’s high desert.

Image: This color composite of the unusual polar ring galaxy NGC 4650A was created from data from the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile. The MUSE instrument, which went online in March 2014, splits the light from each part of the galaxy into component colors to show the chemical and physical Credit: ESO/MUSE consortium/R. Bacon

After a decade of design and development, the tool — called the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) — successfully captured its first images of deep space to create 3D views of the early universe. Installed on the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, MUSE can both study and image the depths of space.

"It has taken a lot of work by many people over many years," principle investigator Roland Bacon of the Lyon Astrophysics Research Center (CRAL) in France said in a statement. "This seven-ton collection of optics, mechanics, and electronics is now a fantastic time machine for probing the early universe."


VLT Active Optics

Situated in the Atacama Desert, astronomers at the Very Large Telescope in Chile experience great seeing conditions. In order to make the most of them, the telescopes have to perform the best they can, working around various sources of error. Observations are extremely sensitive to the shape of the mirrors- the VLT sees in infrared and visible light, which has a wavelength of a few hundred nanometers, and as a rule the mirror would have to be precise to 1/20th of this. The issues with the Hubble Space Telescope when it was first launched were due to the mirror being too flat at the edges by about 2.2 microns- that’s 4 times the wavelength of visible light! 

The solution is to use active optics. The 8.2m primary mirror has 150 separate supports, which can all be moved individually to subtly change the shape of the mirror, and the secondary mirror can be tilted. A reference star is observed within the field of view of the telescope, and adjustments are made accordingly, allowing objects to become sharper (see top gif). Smaller but faster corrections can be made using adaptive optics to allow for atmospheric disturbance. 

With a few calculations to make a specific shape of mirror, the VLT can even spell out its name using distorted light from a single star!

Information source & further reading hereGifs made by me from this video, credit ESO.


Dark Matter Ring in Galaxy Cluster | NASA

I highly suggest you follow [this link] to get the full resolution image. You’d be able to see almost clearly the individual galaxies. 

What a universe we live in.


Galaxy Explorers

At the beginning of dawn the southern Milky Way is photographed over the Cerro Paranal Observatory in the barren Atacama Desert.

Bright stars Alpha and Beta Centauri are near the horizon and the Southern Cross (Crux) appear above them. Higher in the sky is the large red emission Carina Nebula.

The Large Magellanic Clouds is on the right. With its dark, steady, and transparent sky, Paranal is home to some of the world’s leading telescopes.

Operated by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) the Very Large Telescope (VLT) is located on Paranal, composed of four 8-meter telescopes and smaller auxiliary telescopes, each 1.8 m in aperture (appear in this image), which are important elements of the VLT interferometer. - Babak Tafreshi


When Gemini Sends Stars to Paranal

From a radiant point in the constellation of the Twins, the annual Geminid meteor shower rained down on planet Earth this week.

Image Credit & Copyright: Stéphane Guisard (Los Cielos de America), TWAN

Recorded near the shower’s peak in the early hours of December 14, this skyscape captures Gemini’s lovely shooting stars in a careful composite of 30 exposures, each 20 seconds long, from the dark of the Chilean Atacama Desert over ESO’s Paranal Observatory. In the foreground Paranal’s four Very Large Telescopes, four Auxillary Telescopes, and the VLT Survey telescope are all open and observing.

The skies above are shared with bright Jupiter (left), Orion, (top left), and the faint light of the Milky Way. Dust swept up from the orbit of active asteroid 3200 Phaethon, Gemini’s meteors enter the atmosphere traveling at about 22 kilometers per second.


First Stars of La Palma

Evening Twilight over the dome of 2.5-meter Isaac Newton Telescope on La Palma, Canaray Islands. — Nik Szymanek


Reflections in a Golden Eye

December 11, 2012: This intriguing image does not depict a deep-space scenario, nor a microscopic terrestrial subject.

Credit: Patrick Dumas/Look at Sciences

Rather the shimmering light whorls are reflection patterns of a gold-plated spare mirror of ESA’s XMM-Newton X-ray space telescope. XMM-Newton space telescope, launched in 1999, carries 3 X-ray telescopes and an optical monitor, the first flown on a X-ray observatory.


Stars Streak Overhead

Although this image might at first look like abstract modern art, it is in fact the result of a long camera exposure of the night sky over the Chajnantor Plateau in the Chilean Andes.

As the Earth rotates towards another day, the stars of the Milky Way above the desert stretch into colourful streaks. The high-tech telescope in the foreground, meanwhile, takes on a dreamlike quality.

This mesmerising photo was taken 5000 metres above sea level on the Chajnantor Plateau, home of the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope, which is seen here. APEX is a 12-metre-diameter telescope which collects light with wavelengths in the millimetre and submillimetre range.

Astronomers use APEX to study objects ranging from the cold clouds of gas and cosmic dust where new stars are being born, to some of the earliest and most distant galaxies in the Universe.

The Gegenschein Over Chile

Is the night sky darkest in the direction opposite the Sun? No. In fact, a rarely discernable faint glow known as the gegenschein (German for “counter glow”) can be seen 180 degrees around from the Sun in an extremely dark sky. The gegenschein is sunlight back-scattered off small interplanetary dust particles.

Image Credit & Copyright: Yuri Beletsky (ESO)

These dust particles are millimeter sized splinters from asteroids and orbit in the ecliptic plane of the planets. Pictured above from 2008 October is one of the more spectacular pictures of the gegenschein yet taken. Here a deep exposure of an extremely dark sky over Paranal Observatory in Chile shows the gegenschein so clearly that even a surrounding glow is visible.

In the foreground are several of the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescopes, while notable background objects include the Andromeda galaxy toward the lower left and the Pleiades star cluster just above the horizon. The gegenschein is distinguished from zodiacal light near the Sun by the high angle of reflection. During the day, a phenomenon similar to the gegenschein called the glory can be seen in reflecting air or clouds opposite the Sun from an airplane.


World’s Largest Telescope to Crown Europe’s 50-Year Space Legacy

When it is complete, the European Extremely Large Telescope in Chile will be the crown astronomical jewel of the European Southern Observatory, which celebrates its 50th birthday this year.

Image: Artist’s impression of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). Credit: ESO

But construction of the world’s largest telescope will take $1.4 billion (1.084 billion Euros), a decade of work and an iron will on the part of the countries participating.

Most of the 14 member nations of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) are countries stricken by money difficulties sparked by the global recession that began in 2007. This pushed back construction of the 128-foot (39-meters) telescope from an expected start date of this year.

The project was approved in June. Most of the member countries have now committed financially, with the final ones expected to make their approvals in late 2012 or early 2013, ESO officials said.

“We remain confident that the European member states will give the green light,” Lars Lindberg Christensen, an ESO spokesperson, told during an interview from the organization’s headquarters in Germany. “In a situation where you have a slowdown of the economy, you need to invest in research and development. You need to invest in industry.”