MELIPAL Very First Light Image
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MELIPAL Very First Light Image

April 22, 2005
In the evening of January 26, the third 8.2-m Unit Telescope, MELIPAL ("The Southern Cross" in the Mapuche language), was pointed to the sky for the first time and successfully achieved "First Light".

During this night, a number of astronomical exposures were made that served to evaluate provisionally the performance of the new telescope. The ESO staff expressed great satisfaction with MELIPAL and there were broad smiles all over the mountain.

This image is that of a relatively bright star, as recorded by the Guide Probe at about 21:50 hrs local time on January 26, 2000. It is a 0.1 sec exposure, obtained after preliminary adjustment of the optics during a few iterations with the computer controlled "active optics" system. The image quality is measured as 0.46 arcsec FWHM (Full-Width at Half Maximum).

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