The world's most advanced optical instrument, the Very Large Telescope (VTL) is located in the Atacama Desert, on Cerro Paranal, a mountain in Chile.
Operated by ESO the the Very Large Telescope Interferometer, allows astronomers to see details up to 25 times finer than with the individual telescopes.
Explore the state-of-the-art technology behind the Very Large telescope, which has provided astronomers with an unequalled view of the Universe.
To obtain the sharpest images of the sky, the VLT has to cope with two major effects that distort the images of celestial objects.
The first one is mirror deformations due to their large sizes.
This problem is corrected using a computer-controlled support system - active optics - that ensures that the mirrors keep their desired shapes under all
The second effect is produced by Earth's atmosphere, which makes stars appear blurry, even with the largest telescopes.
Adaptive optics is a real-time correction of the distortions produced by the atmosphere using computer-controlled mirrors that deform hundreds of times
per second to counteract the atmospheric effects.
As one demonstration of its power the VLT's sensitive infrared cameras, helped by adaptive optics, have been able to peer through the massive dust clouds
that block our view to Milky Way's core.
The images, taken over many years, have allowed astronomers to actually watch stars orbiting around the monstrous black hole
that lies in the center of our galaxy. It was even possible to detect energetic flares from gas clouds falling into the black hole.
The Very Large Telescope is without doubt impressing and keeps delivering surprises to astronomers.
Wonderful Mobile Astronomy Apps For All Stargazers!
It doesn't matter whether you are a beginner or an experienced backyard astronomer.
It's never too late to become interested in astronomy and these superb applications can help you in your stargazing pursuits.
We have put together a selection of some wonderful applications for you mobile or ipad.
Many of the applications are free and you will be amazed how beautiful they are!
Auroras On Alien Worlds Can Be Stunningly Beautiful
Auroras on Earth are stunning to watch, but have you ever wondered what they might look like on other planets?
We took a journey to some alien worlds to find out what auroras look like there. There is no doubt that extraterrestrial
auroras can be very beautiful on other places in the Universe, and sometimes this light show can be very unique.