Amazing video timelapse of big telescopes at work in Chile

September 3, 2014 by Elizabeth Howell, Universe Today

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 in formation.

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

Explore further: ALMA: New telescope can detect hidden gases that might hold the key to star and planetary formation

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