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The Very Large Telescope Project


ESO is building what will be the World's largest optical telescope array, The Very Large Telescope (VLT). The VLT Project organisation is responsible for the design and construction of the Unit Telescopes, including enclosures, optics, adapter-rotators and coating unit. It is based at the ESO Headquarters in Garching, Germany.

The VLT Project

The ESO Very Large Telescope will consist of four 8-meter telescopes which can work independently or in combined mode. In this latter mode the VLT provides the total light collecting power of a 16 meter single telescope, making it the largest optical telescope in the world. The four 8-m telescopes supplemented with 3 auxilliary 1 m telescopes may also be used in interferometric mode providing high angular resolution imaging. The useful wavelength range extends from the near UV up to 25 microns in the infrared.

The Paranal Observatory is located on Cerro Paranal in the Atacama Desert, northern Chile. Science operation with the first unit telscope (UT1) is scheduled for the first half of 1999. Full operations of all telescopes is expected shortly after the turn of the century. The latest news, press releases, and other information material about the VLT can be found in a separate web document.

The following links provide information about the VLT Project, in particular concerning the engineering aspects and the on-going construction activities.

 Layout of the Observatory
 Unit Telescopes
 Auxiliary Telescopes
 Coating Unit
 Environmental Specifications

Related Projects and Information

 VLT Interferometer (VLTI)
 VLT Survey Telescope (VST)
 VLT Software Development
 VLT Data Flow System

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