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Amazing Video Timelapse Of Big Telescopes At Work In Chile

What’s it like to spend a night at a huge telescope observatory? Jordi Busque recorded a brilliant timelapse of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). What makes this video unique is not only the exotic location in Chile, but the use of sound in the area rather than music.

The VLT has four main mirrors that are each 8.2 meters (27 feet) in diameter, and four auxiliary telescopes that are each 1.8 meters (six feet) in diameter. When working together as a large interferometer, the European Southern Observatory says, the telescopes can resolve the equivalent of two headlights on a car on the Moon.

ALMA also uses interferometry, but in this case it is spread across 66 antennas that can be put as far apart as 16 kilometers (9.9 miles). It focuses on submillimeter astronomy, which allows astronomers to look past items such as dust clouds to see planetary systems in formation.

You can see more of Busque’s work at this website.

About 

Elizabeth Howell is the senior writer at Universe Today. She also works for Space.com, Space Exploration Network, the NASA Lunar Science Institute, NASA Astrobiology Magazine and LiveScience, among others. Career highlights include watching three shuttle launches, and going on a two-week simulated Mars expedition in rural Utah. You can follow her on Twitter @howellspace or contact her at her website.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Manu September 2, 2014, 3:14 PM

    You had me at “sound” =)
    That’s a most welcome change from the usual appalling music these videos come with.

  • msadesign September 3, 2014, 7:17 AM

    I’d like to see a realtime video sometime, having no real clue how quickly those behemoths move.

    And a related question: I know the site is remote. I wonder how they manage services there? Sewer, water–and a lot of electricity.

    Dr. Ken: you’ve been down there, right?

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