sexta-feira, 21 de março de 2008

First Light" for Twin-Eyed Telescope

First Light" for Twin-Eyed Telescope
The world's largest set of opera glasses is operational.

This image, one of the first ever taken using both mirrors of the Large Binocular Telescope, shows ultraviolet, green, and red light in the spiral galaxy NGC 2770.
The Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona achieved an important milestone in January when both of the telescope's 8.4-meter mirrors pointed toward the spiral galaxy NGC 2770. Last week the LBT folks released the images.

This critical step means we're not far from having another full-time telescopic giant producing incredible observations and scientific discoveries. And it poses the question: Is LBT the largest telescope in the world?

If you ask me, I say no. When the images are combined, the two LBT eyes have the light-collecting area of a single 11.8-meter mirror. And they ride on the same mount and always point in the same direction. But it still takes two separate primary mirrors and two separate optical systems to make the magic happen. The largest binoculars? Sure. The largest telescope? The purist in me still gives the title to the 10-meter Kecks. The 10.4-meter GranTeCan in the Canary Islands isn't quite up and running yet, but it should be soon. When that happens, in my book it will take the crown.

And I don't count Hobby-Eberly Telescope or the Southern African Large Telescope because they can't point all over the sky, and not all of the primary mirror is working at a given time.

So let's start the debate. Do you think the LBT should rank as the "world's largest largest optical telescope"? If you read their press release, that's what they're calling it.

Posted by:
Lucimary Vargas
Além Paraíba-MG-Brasil

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