Chile’s astronomical potential is undeniable, especially in the north. According to the experts, the country has “the most beautiful skies in the world.” And to leverage this natural advantage even further, the largest telescope in the world has just been installed in the Cerro Paranal Observagtory, Antofagasta Region, to map the skies.
The device, which has already captured its first images, is equipped with the Vista (Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy) device, the tracking system that works on longitudes of infrared signals.
Its large and wide mirror, in addition to a very good field of vision and sensitive detectors, will allow a totally new view of the southern sky to be totally revealed.
But it does not just stand out for its size. In addition, it has state-of-the-art technology that was developed by a consortium of British universities. It includes a three-ton camera equipped with 16 special detectors that are sensitive to red light, located in the very heart of Vista, which allows elements and materials to be perceived even when they are covered by clouds or dust.
The telescope is also capable of capturing a section of the sky in each shot that is equivalent to ten times the area of the full moon, allowing each object in the sky to be detected and cataloged with a sensitivity that is 40 times greater than what is obtained by other trackers like the successful Two Micron All-Sky Survey.
The new infrastructure will foster the development of astronomy in Chile. The country has five observatories: La Silla,El Tololo, Cerro Mamalluca, Las Campanaand the aforementioned Paranal, all equipped with the most advanced technology that exists.
This post is also available in Spanish