eso8606-en-us — Organisation Release

ESO Presents the VLT: A 16 Metre Optical Telescope Project

3 March 1986

After several years of intensive studies, the European Southern Observatory now releases information to the public about its 16 metre telescope project. The concept here shown is the result of an extensive collaboration between European science and industry.

After several years of intensive studies, the European Southern Observatory now releases information to the public about its 16 metre telescope project. The concept here shown is the result of an extensive collaboration between European science and industry.

This major astronomical project, which aims at the construction of one of the world's largest optical telescopes by the 1990's will be further defined during forthcoming meetings of the various ESO technical committees. It will thereafter be submitted to the ESO member countries and it is hoped that funding at the level of 300 million DM can be ensured by late 1987. The realization of the project may start soon thereafter.

Since no optical telescope this large has ever been constructed, it is evident that new ground will be broken in several areas. Technologically, the VLT will profit from experience with ESO's 3.5 metre New Technology Telescope (see ESO Press Release eso8602 of 21 January 1986). Significant advances and industrial spin-off are expected, among others, in the fields of

  • optical technologies (mirror materials, polishing techniques),
  • active optics (correction in real time of image degradation due to atmospheric perturbations and other sources),
  • instrumentation (extremely large holographic gratings and very large solid state detectors, data analysis), and
  • remote control (monitoring, robots, telecommunications).

The 16 metre telescope will allow optical and IR observations of the faintest, most remote and oldest objects known in the universe. When equipped with the state-of-art instrumentation of the 1990's, it will provide European astronomers with unrivalled opportunities for front-line astronomical research.

A Press Conference will be held at the ESO Headquarters in Garching on Wednesday 19 March at 10:30 am, during which the members of the press will have the opportunity to meet the key scientific and technical people who are involved in the VLT project.

Contacts

Richard West
ESO
Garching, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6276
Email: information@eso.org

This is a translation of ESO Press Release eso8606.

About the Release

Release No.:eso8606-en-us
Legacy ID:PR 06/86
Name:Very Large Telescope
Type:• Unspecified : Technology : Observatory : Telescope
• X - Events

Images

Model of the ESO Very Large Telescope
Model of the ESO Very Large Telescope

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