Large Binocular Telescope sees first light

Nov. 1, 2005
November 1, 2005, Mount Graham, AZ--The two mirrors of the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) have produced their first scientific images of space. Led by the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (Heidelberg, Germany), five German institutes participated, garnering a total of 25 percent of the observation time. Among them were the Max Planck Institutes for Astronomy, Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, and for Radio Astronomy in Bonn.

November 1, 2005, Mount Graham, AZ--The two mirrors of the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) have produced their first scientific images of space. Led by the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (Heidelberg, Germany), five German institutes participated, garnering a total of 25 percent of the observation time. Among them were the Max Planck Institutes for Astronomy, Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, and for Radio Astronomy in Bonn.

The Large Binocular Telescope, positioned on the 3190-meter high Mount Graham in Arizona, is one of the most prominent scientific-technical projects in modern astronomical research. Its name describes it well: it has two giant mirrors, each of them with a diameter of 8.4 m. They are mounted onto the same surface, and focused, like field glasses, at the same time on distant space objects. The surface of the mirrors is polished with extreme precision, down to one 20 millionth of a mm. If an LBT mirror were enlarged to the size of Lake Constance in the Alps--just slightly larger than the area of New York City--the ‛waves' on the lake would be only one-fifth of a mm high. In spite of their size, each of the two mirrors weighs 16 tons. A classical telescope, on the other hand, at the dimensions of the LBT, would have thick mirrors weighing some 100 tons. It would be impossible to construct such a large classical telescope.

By combining the optical paths of the two individual mirrors, the LBT collects as much light as a telescope whose mirrors have a diameter of 11.8 meters. This is a factor of 24 larger than the 2.4-m mirrors of the Hubble Space Telescope. Even more importantly, the LBT has the resolution of a 22.8-m telescope, because it uses the most modern adaptive optics, superimposing pictures with an interferometric procedure. The astronomers are thus able to compensate for the blurring caused by air turbulence, and see into the universe much more clearly than Hubble.

LBT is a joint American-German-Italian project.

Sponsored Recommendations

Request a free Micro 3D Printed sample part

April 11, 2024
The best way to understand the part quality we can achieve is by seeing it first-hand. Request a free 3D printed high-precision sample part.

How to Tune Servo Systems: The Basics

April 10, 2024
Learn how to tune a servo system using frequency-based tools to meet system specifications by watching our webinar!

Motion Scan and Data Collection Methods for Electro-Optic System Testing

April 10, 2024
Learn how different scanning patterns and approaches can be used in measuring an electro-optic sensor performance, by reading our whitepaper here!

How Precision Motion Systems are Shaping the Future of Semiconductor Manufacturing

March 28, 2024
This article highlights the pivotal role precision motion systems play in supporting the latest semiconductor manufacturing trends.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Laser Focus World, create an account today!