eso9841 — Organisation Release

First Major Astronomical Instrument Mounted on VLT

First FORS Images Expected Soon

11 September 1998

After seven years of design and construction, and much preparatory work at Paranal, the first scientific instrument of the VLT, FORS1 , was successfully mounted on the Cassegrain focus of the first 8.2-m VLT telescope (UT1) yesterday. FORS1 and its sister instrument, FORS2 (to be mounted at UT2 towards the end of 1999), have been designed to obtain images and spectra in the visual spectral region of the faintest possible objects.

After seven years of design and construction, and much preparatory work at Paranal, the first scientific instrument of the VLT, FORS1, was successfully mounted on the Cassegrain focus of the first 8.2-m VLT telescope (UT1) yesterday. FORS1 and its sister instrument, FORS2 (to be mounted at UT2 towards the end of 1999), have been designed to obtain images and spectra in the visual spectral region of the faintest possible objects.

FORS1 was assembled in the Instrument Area at the Paranal Base Camp and the operation began by the loading of FORS1 onto the Instrument Carriage. It was then hoisted onto the ESO 10-ton truck and slowly transported up the mountain to the UT1 enclosure in the morning of September 10. Here it was carefully lifted from the truck using the big M1 Lift Platform as a crane. It was driven inside the building and hoisted to the Azimuth platform with the enclosure crane.

Late in the afternoon, it was moved under the Cassegrain focus, then lifted and bolted to the flange inside the main mirror cell (M1 cell). The entire operation went very smoothly and this was a great moment for all involved!

There is still much work to be done before FORS1 will become fully operational. The detector must be prepared and installed, connections for power and communications have to be made and the proper functioning of all instrument components on the telescope under software control have to be carefully verified. Only then will FORS1, for the first time, "see" the light from stars and galaxies and begin to explore the universe. If all goes well, FORS1 will produce its first test images within a few days.

FORS1 and FORS2 are built under ESO contract by a Consortium of German institutes, including Landessternwarte Heidelberg, Universitäts-Sternwarte Göttingen and Universitäts-Sternwarte München.

About the Release

Release No.:eso9841
Legacy ID:Photo 34a-f/98
Name:FORS1, Very Large Telescope
Type:• Unspecified : Technology : Observatory : Instrument
• X - Paranal

Images

First Major Astronomical Instrument Mounted on VLT
First Major Astronomical Instrument Mounted on VLT
First Major Astronomical Instrument Mounted on VLT
First Major Astronomical Instrument Mounted on VLT
First Major Astronomical Instrument Mounted on VLT
First Major Astronomical Instrument Mounted on VLT
First Major Astronomical Instrument Mounted on VLT
First Major Astronomical Instrument Mounted on VLT
First Major Astronomical Instrument Mounted on VLT
First Major Astronomical Instrument Mounted on VLT
First Major Astronomical Instrument Mounted on VLT
First Major Astronomical Instrument Mounted on VLT

Also see our