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Latest Observatory Stories

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2008-05-28 09:05:00

Today marks the 10th anniversary since First Light with ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), the most advanced optical telescope in the world. Since then, the VLT has evolved into a unique suite of four 8.2-m Unit Telescopes (UTs) equipped with no fewer than 13 state-of-the-art instruments, and four 1.8-m moveable Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs). The telescopes can work individually, and they can also be linked together in groups of two or three to form a giant 'interferometer' (VLTI), allowing...

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2008-04-17 10:55:00

A 4.1-metre diameter primary mirror, a vital part of the world's newest and fastest survey telescope, VISTA (the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy) has been delivered to its new mountaintop home at Cerro Paranal, Chile. The mirror will now be coupled with a small camera for initial testing prior to installing the main camera in June. Full scientific operations are due to start early next year. VISTA will form part of ESO's Very Large Telescope facility.The mirror arrived...

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2008-04-01 10:10:00

The multi-wavelength sky is set to clear as the world's most powerful astronomical virtual observatory opens.  The AstroGrid service provides the UK astronomy community unparalleled access to the wide range of multi-wavelength observations of our sky.  Andy Lawrence, Regius Professor of Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh, and Principal Investigator of the AstroGrid consortium, will be announcing the launch of the AstroGrid service on 1 April 2008 at the RAS National Astronomy...

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2008-03-26 01:15:00

Blockbuster shooting in ParanalCerro Paranal, the 2600m high mountain in the Chilean Atacama Desert that hosts ESO's Very Large Telescope, will be the stage for scenes in the next James Bond movie, "Quantum of Solace". Looking akin to Mars, with its red sand and lack of vegetation, the Atacama Desert is thought to be the driest place on Earth. Cerro Paranal is home to ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), which, with its array of four giant 8.2-m individual telescopes, is the world's most...

2008-02-06 00:00:00

By Seth Borenstein WASHINGTON -- A telescope arms race is taking shape around the world. Astronomers are drawing up plans for the biggest, most powerful instruments ever built, capable of peering far deeper into the universe, and further back in time, than ever before. The building boom, which is expected to play out over the next decade and cost billions of dollars, is being driven by technological advances that afford unprecedented clarity and magnification. In fact, the supersized...

2008-02-13 09:03:44

A new robotic observatory at the highest point of the Antarctic Plateau will continuously survey the skies on its own for almost a year. The coldest and driest place on Earth makes an ideal location for stargazing without much in the way of clouds or bad weather — not to mention Antarctica's four months of complete darkness. "We're taking 10-second exposures of the sky for four months," said Lifan Wang, a Texas A&M astrophysicist who compared the hoped-for final results...

2008-02-13 03:50:00

A new robotic observatory at the highest point of the Antarctic Plateau will continuously survey the skies on its own for almost a year. The coldest and driest place on Earth makes an ideal location for stargazing without much in the way of clouds or bad weather "” not to mention Antarctica's four months of complete darkness. "We're taking 10-second exposures of the sky for four months," said Lifan Wang, a Texas A&M astrophysicist who compared the hoped-for final results with "a...

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2008-02-04 00:35:00

The development of new technological advances is setting the course for a worldwide telescopic arms race. Astronomers are currently planning to construct large land-based telescopes with the capability of seeing further back in time than ever before. The telescopes will produce clearer images than even those taken by the Hubble Space Telescope which was put into orbit in 1990 and was long respected for its ability to clear up distortion caused by the Earth's atmosphere. Now, new land-based...

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2008-02-01 16:25:00

A team of scientists representing six international institutions, including Texas A&M University, has succeeded in reaching the summit of Antarctica "“ also a monumental achievement for ground-based astronomy -- to establish a new astronomical observatory at Dome Argus on the highest point of the Antarctic Plateau. Two weeks after arriving Jan. 11 at "Dome A" for only the second time in history, an expedition team led by the Polar Research Institute of China (PRIC) has completed...

2007-09-24 21:49:05

MEXICO CITY (AP) - An international group announced plans on Monday to erect what it claims will be the highest-altitude, greenhouse gas-monitoring center to date, to be built atop the Sierra Negra volcano in central Mexico. The Washington-based Climate Institute and other foundations and companies have raised the initial $1.9 million to pay for the station, which will join a worldwide web of similar labs at lower altitudes measuring air particles, radiation and gases such as carbon dioxide....


Latest Observatory Reference Libraries

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2004-10-19 04:45:43

Very Large Telescope -- The Very Large Telescope (VLT) consist of four optical telescopes that have 8.4 meter aperture. The VLT is a project of the European Southern Observatory organization. It is located at the Paranal Observatory on Cerro Paranal, a 2,635-m high mountain in the Atacama desert in northern Chile. The VLT consists of a cluster four of large telescopes, and an interferometer (VLTI) which will be used to resolve fine features. The telescopes have been named after the...

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2004-10-19 04:45:43

Radio Telescope -- In contrast to an ordinary telescope, which produces visible light images, a radio telescope "sees" radio waves emitted by radio sources located anywhere in the Universe, typically by means of a large parabolic ("dish") antenna, or arrays of them. The best-known (and largest) radio telescope is in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. A well-known radio telescope being an array of antennae is the Very Large Array (VLA) in Socorro, New Mexico. The largest (100-meter diameter) and most...

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2004-10-19 04:45:40

Keck Observatory -- From a remote outpost on the summit of Hawaii's dormant Mauna Kea volcano, astronomers at the W.M. Keck Observatory probe the deepest regions of the Universe with unprecedented power and precision. Their instruments are the twin Keck Telescopes, the world's largest optical and and infrared telescopes. Each stands eight stories tall and weighs 300 tons, yet operates with nanometer precision. At the heart of each Keck Telescope is a revolutionary primary mirror. Ten...

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2004-10-19 04:45:40

Jodrell Bank Observatory -- The Jodrell Bank Observatory, near Macclesfield, Cheshire in the north west of England is a part of the University of Manchester. It has played an important part in the research into quasars and pulsars, as well as the first detection of a gravitational lens in 1979, confirming one of Einstein's theories. It was established in 1945 by Dr. Bernard Lovell, who wanted to investigate cosmic rays after his work on radar in World War II. The first radio...

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2004-10-19 04:45:40

European Southern Observatory -- ESO, the European Southern Observatory, was created in 1962 to: "establish and operate an astronomical observatory in the southern hemisphere, equipped with powerful instruments, with the aim of furthering and organising collaboration in astronomy". ESO is supported by Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom. Other countries have expressed interest to become a member as well. ESO...

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Word of the Day
baudekin
  • A rich embroidered or brocaded silk fabric woven originally with a warp of gold thread.
'Baudekin' seems to be an alternative form of 'baldachin,' from the Italian 'Baldacco,' Baghdad, the city where the material was made.
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