The VLTI delay lines

A 360 degree panorama view of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) tunnel, where the light from a distant celestial object that has been collected by two or more telescopes is combined to produce a pattern of fringes. In order to combine light interferometrically, the fact that the telescopes are not at the same distance to the observed object needs to be compensated. The light which arrives first is delayed, by being sent through this tunnel, where it bounces off mirrors mounted on trolleys. The VLTI tunnel is located below the VLT observing platform on the top of Paranal and consists of two delay lines with moveable carriages, whose position is adjusted with a precision of less than a micron, the wavelength of the observed radiation. The VLT is composed of four 8.2-metre Unit Telescopes (UTs) and four mobile 1.8-metre Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs). The UTs can observe either individually or in combined mode, while the ATs are entirely dedicated to interferometry. The interferometric observations allow astronomers to see details up to 25 times finer than with the individual telescopes.

An amazing interactive virtual tour is available here



About the Image

Release date:6 December 2010, 22:06
Size:11058 x 3741 px
Field of View:300° x 80°

About the Object

Name:Panorama, Very Large Telescope Interferometer
Type:Unspecified : Technology : Observatory : Facility

Image Formats

Large JPEG
26.0 MB
Screensize JPEG
149.7 KB



Also see our