eso9930 — Kurumsal Bülten
VLT Data Flow System Begins Operation
21 Haziran 1999: The site at Cerro Paranal in the dry Atacama desert in Northern Chile is one of the best locations for astronomical observations from the surface of the Earth. Each of the four 8.2-m telescopes is a technological marvel with self-adjusting optics placed in a gigantic mechanical structure of the utmost precision, continuously controlled by advanced soft- and hardware. A multitude of extremely complex instruments with sensitive detectors capture the faint light from distant objects in the Universe and record the digital data fast and efficiently as images and spectra, with a minimum of induced noise. And now the next crucial link in this chain is in place. A few nights ago, following an extended test period, the VLT Data Flow System began providing the astronomers with a steady stream of high-quality, calibrated image and spectral data, ready to be interpreted. The VLT project has entered into a new phase with a larger degree of automation. Indeed, the first 8.2-m Unit Telescope, ANTU, with the FORS1 and ISAAC instruments, has now become a true astronomy machine.