VLT Unit Telescope (artist's impression)
The ESO Very Large Telescope consists of four 8.2-metre telescopes, each of which will be protected by a steel enclosure.
This is an artist's drawing of the final design of one of these, shown here with an 8.2-metre telescope in place. The diameter of the entire structure is about 35 metres and its total height is also about 35 metres. It weighs about 275 tonnes. The VLT enclosure is similar to that of the ESO 3.5-metre New Technology Telescope (NTT) at La Silla, but it also incorporates many new features which will further enhance the ability to provide the best possible local astroclimate for the telescope.
At the bottom is a fixed support (dark colour) that will be anchored to the concrete foundation, now being constructed at the top of Paranal. Resting on this base is the rotating part of the enclosure (light blue) which will turn in unison with the telescope.
The only openings in the enclosure are the telescope slit in the front (almost 12 metre wide) and the smaller ventilation apertures on the sides.
The first of these structures (for VLT Unit Telescope no. 1) is now ready to be shipped to the VLT site at
Cerro Paranal. It is expected that it will arrive on the mountain in the second half of November 1994 and that erection will start before the end of the year and last until May 1995. After this, the installation of the heavy telescope support (dark blue) will begin. The first of the four VLT telescopes will begin operation in 1997.
About the Image
|Release date:||29 September 1994|
|Size:||400 x 465 px|
About the Object
|Name:||Very Large Telescope|
|Type:||Unspecified : Technology : Observatory : Telescope|