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Published by: European Southern Observatory on May 06, 2009
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02/01/2013

T H E
M E S S E N G E R
No. 34 -
Decem ber 1983
T h e V e ry L a rg e T e le s c o p e P ro je c t
D .E n a rd ,Head ofth e
V LTP ro je c tG ro u p ,a n d
J .-P o
S w in g s ,C h a irm a no fth e
V LTA s tro n o m yA d v is o ryC o m m itte e
A rtis t's v ie wo f a n e a r ly E S O
V LT c o n c e p t, re p re s e n tin ga a r r a yo f fo u r8 m e tre le le s c o p e s ,o f w h ic h Iw o a re s h o w n1 0 b e Iin k e d fo r in te rfe ro m e tric
c a p a b ilitie s .11n o ws e e m s p r e fe r a b le1 0 d o in te r fe r o m e tr yb y a d d in g1 0 Ih e la rg e d is h e sa fe w s m a lle r s iz e(2 -3 m e tre ) le le s c o p e s th a i w o u ld b e
m o v a b le . ( D r a w in gb yJ .-M .L e c le rc q z .)
A s
e m p h a s iz e d
u n a n im o u s ly
a t th e
tim e
o f th e
C a rg e s e
w o rk s h o p " a V e ry
L a rg e T e le s c o p e

( V L T ) p r o je c t is o f v ita l im p o rta n c e to th e fu tu re v ig o u r o f E u ro p e a n a s tro n o m y . T h e ta b leg iv e nb e lo w s h o w s in d e e d th a t " c o m p e tin g " p ro je c ts e x is t in th e U S , U K , U S S R , a ll o f w h ic h a r e tob ec o m p le te d w ith in a b o u t 1 0 y e a rs . T h e S p a c e T e le s c o p eisin d ic a te din th e s a m e ta b le fo r c o m p a r is o n ,ino r d e r to s tr e s s its h ig h c o s t a n d its s iz e o f " o n ly " 2 .4 m e tre s .Itis a ls ov e ry im p o r ta n t to k e e pin m in d th a t

th e
S p a c e
T e le s c o p e
a n d
fu tu re
la rg e
g ro u n d -b a s e d
te le s c o p e s
a re
to
b e
c o n s id e r e d
a s
c o m p le m e n ta ry , n o ta s
c o m p e tito rs .

T h e a re a o fv e ryla r g e te le s c o p e s isin c o n tin u o u s d e v e lo p \ue000 m e n t a n d p ro g re s s :fiv ein te rn a tio n a l c o n fe re n c e sh a v e in d e e d b e e n

d e v o te d
to
th e
s U b je c t
s in c e
1 9 7 7 ,
th e
la s t o n e
in
S e p t e m b e r 1 9 8 3 . T h e n e x t o n e w illb e th e lA U C o llo q u iu m
7 9
o n
"V e ry
L a rg e
T e le s c o p e s , th e ir In s tru m e n ta tio n
a n d
P ro \ue000
g r a m s " , to b e h e ldin
E S O
(G a rc h in g )in A p ril 1 9 8 4 .
S c ie n tific o b je c tiv e s fo r V L T s
h a v e
b e e n
lis te d o n
s e v e ra l
o c c a s io n s : a n u m b e r o f th e m m a y , fo r e x a m p le ,b e fo u n din th e
P r o c e e d in g s
o f th e
C a rg e s e
W o rk s h o p
1
;
o n ly
a few

w ill be m e n tio n e d h e re a fte r.In a ll c a s e s , it tu rn s o u t th a t th e m a in u s e of a VLT w illb ein th e a re a s o f s p e c tro s c o p y a n d o f h ig h s p a tia l r e s o lu tio n im a g in g .

T h e h ig h lig h t g a th e r in g p o w e r o f a V LT w illm a k e p o s s ib le a w h o le ra n g e o f o b s e rv a tio n sw hic ha t p r e s e n t c a n n o tb e m a d e a t a ll o r o n ly in av e ry lim ite d w a y : th e y c o n c e r n p r im a r ily lo w \ue000 re s o lu tio n s p e c tro s c o p y o fv e ryfa in t o b je c tsa s w e il a s h ig h \ue000 r e s o lu tio n

s p e c tro s c o p y
o f
a
w id e
v a rie ty
o f
o b je c ts
w ith
in te rm e d ia te
b rig h tn e s s .
T a rg e ts
w ill
u n d o u b te d ly
c o v e r
a
tre m e n d o u s ra n g e o f d is ta n c e s , fro m
s o la r s y s te m

s o u rc e sto o b je c ts a t th e e d g e o f th e u n iv e r s e . F o r iliu s tr a tio n ,le t u s s im p ly m e n tio n a fe w

ta n ta liz in g p o s s ib ilitie s :
-

S p e c tro s c o p ic o b s e r v a tio n s o f th e o u te r p la n e ts a n d c o m e \ue000 ta r y n u c le i to s e a r c h fo r v a r io u s m o le c u le s w ith lo w a b u n d a n \ue000 c e s ;

-
H ig h
s p e c tra l re s o lu tio n
o b s e rv a tio n s
le a d in g
to
d e ta ile d
a b u n d a n c e s
o f e le m e n ts
in
s ta rs
in
d iffe re n t p a rts

of our g a la x y , th e M a g e lla n ic C lo u d s a n d o th e r s a te llite g a la x ie s , w h ic h w o u ldg iv ee s s e n tia l in fo r m a tio n o n th e o rig in o f th e e le m e n ts ;

-

S te lla r s e is m o lo g y : th e o b s e r v a tio n o f o s c illa tio n s lik e th o s e fo u n d o n th e S u n ,w hic hg iv e m u c h in fo r m a tio n o n th e s te lla r in te rn a l c o n s titu tio n a n d ro ta tio n ;

-
H ig h
tim e
r e s o lu tio n
p h o to m e tric ,
s p e c tro s c o p ic

a n d p o la rim e tric o b s e rv a tio n s o f c o m p a c t X -ra y s o u rc e s w h ic h m a y c o n ta in

b la c k h o le s , o f X -ra y b u rs t s o u rc e s , o f d w a rf
n o v a ea n d o th e r ra p id ly v a ry in go b je c ts ;
I
W o rk s h o po n E S O 'sV e ry L a rg e T e le s c o p e . C a rg e s e1 6 -1 9M ay.1 9 8 3 ;E S O
C o n fe re n c ea n d W o rk s h o p P ro c e e d in g sN o.1 7 ;e d s . J .-P . S w in g sa n dK .K j\u00e4 r.
-
S p e c tro s c o p y
in
th e
IR
o f q u a s a rs a n d
a c tiv e
g a la x ie s
to
d e te r m in e th e in te rn a l a b s o r p tio n a n d to s tu d y th e k in e m a \ue000
tic s o f th e a b s o r b e d r e g io n ;
-
H ig h
s p e c tra l
r e s o lu tio n
o b s e rv a tio n s
o f
q u a s a r
n a rro w
a b s o r p tio n lin e s a n d th e c o n s e q u e n t m a p p in g o f th e d is tr ib u \ue000
tio n o f in te r g a la c tic m a tte rinth e u n iv e r s e ;
-
S p e c tro s c o p ic o b s e rv a tio n s o fv e ryd is ta n t g a la x ie s to s tu d y
th e ir e v o lu tio n , a n d fro m
th is to g a in fu rth e r in fo rm a tio no n
th e e x p a n s io n o f th e u n iv e r s e .
H ig h r e s o lu tio n im a g in g is p e r h a p s o n e o f th e m o s t fa s c in a t\ue000
in g c a p a b ilitie s o f E S O 's fu tu r e
V L T : s p e c k le te c h n iq u e s ,a s
w e il a s
d ir e c t im a g in g , e s p e c ia lly in
th e
in fra re d
w h e re
th e
d iffra c tio n
lim it o f th e te le s c o p e
is
a c h ie v e d , w o u ld

becom e p o s s ib le d o w n to e x tr e m e ly fa in t o b je c ts .Ina re a s s u c ha s th e in fra re d a g a in ,a d v a n ta g ec o u ld

im m e d ia te lyb e ta k e n o f th e
tw o -d im e n s io n a l a rra y s
th a t a re
p re s e n tly
b e in g

d e v e lo p e d . T h is w o u ld e n a b le m o r p h o lo g ic a l s tu d ie s o f o b je c ts ra n g in ga ll th e w a y fro m

a s te r o id s to g a la c tic n u c le i, a n d p e r h a p s p e r m it th e d e te c tio n o f " s o la r s y s te m s "inth e ir e a rly p h a s e o f fo rm a \ue000 tio n .

W hatisth e b e s t w a y o f m a k in g th e s e o b s e r v a tio n s p o s s ib le
w ith
th e
h ig h e s t e ffic ie n c y ?
A
s tu d y
g ro u p
w ith in
E S O
h a s
lo o k e d in to th is p r o b le m
w h ile c o n s id e r in g th e th r e e fo llo w in g
p o s s ib ilitie s :
(a )
A s in g le d is h o f 1 6 m
d ia m e te r w ith a s e g m e n te d m irro r;
(b )
A m u ltim ir r o r te le s c o p e (M M T ) w ith , fo r e x a m p le , fo u r 8 m
m o n o lith ic m irro rs ;
(c )
A na rra y o f in d e p e n d e n t te le s c o p e s - fo r e x a m p le fo u r 8 m
te le s c o p e s .
T h e firs t o p tio n(a )s u ffe rs fro m
tw o b a s ic p r o b le m s : av e ry
s o p h is tic a te d a n da s y e t u n trie d c o n tro l s y s te m

w illb e n e e d e d to k e e p th e s e g m e n ts a lig n e d to o p tic a l s p e c ific a tio n s , a n d th e lo n g

fo c a l le n g th
m a k e s itv e ryd iffic u lt to
c o n s tr u c t e ffic ie n t
m a tc h in g
s p e c tro g ra p h s . T h e
m a in
a d v a n ta g eo f th is o p tio n

w o u ldb e th a tin th eIR a n d fo r o p tic a l s p e c k le w o r k th e la r g e s t p o s s ib le a p e r tu r e is d e s ir a b le . T h e s e c o n d o p tio n(b )a lle v ia te s th e s p e c tr o g r a p h ic m a tc h in g p r o b le m s , w h ile th e e x te n s io n o f c o n v e n tio n a l m ir r o r te c h n o lo g y to 8 m e t re s s e e m s a c h ie v a b le .

Inp r in c ip le , it is p o s s ib le to c o m b in e th e lig h t fro m
th e d iffe re n t
m irro rs o p tic a lly ,b u tth ea d d it io n a llo s s o f lig h t m a k e s th is le s s
a llr a c tiv e
in
m any
a p p lic a tio n s . T h e
th ird
o p tio n
(c )
is
v e ry
s im ila r, e x c e p t t h a t w ith in d e p e n d e n t te le s c o p e s m o re fle x ib ility
is o b ta in e d ; fu rth e rm o re
inth is c o n fig u r a tio n , in te re s tin g p o s \ue000
s ib ilitie s m a y e x is t fo r in te r fe r o m e tr y .
A na d d itio n a l e le m e n t tob e c o n s id e r e d fo r th e s e le c tio n o f
th e c o n c e p t is th e te c h n o lo g y a v a ila b le to
m a k e th e
p rim a ry

m irro r. E x te n s iv e re s e a rc hisc u rre n tly b e in g c a rrie d o u t a t E S O fo r th e N e w T e c h n o lo g y T e le s c o p e(N T I)p r o je c t o n th ea c tiv e c o n tr o l o f a th in ( " d e fo r m a b le " ) d is h .It s e e m s ,o n th e b a s is o f th e

e x p e r ie n c e
th a t h a s
b e e n
g a in e d
th a t a
la rg e ,
a c tiv e ly
P R O JE C T
S IZ E O R E Q U IV A L E N T
P R E S E N T C O S T E S T I-
C H A R A C T E R IS T IC S
L O C A T IO N
D IA M E T E R
M ATE
(a p p ro x .)
U n iv e r s ity o f T e x a s
7 .6 m
40 M$
v e ryth in m o n o lith
D a v is M ts ., T e x a s
U n iv e r s ity o f C a lifo r n ia
1 0
m
50 M$
s e g m e n te d p rim a ry
M a u n a K e a , H a w a ii
U SN a tio n a l N e w T e c h -
s e g m e n te d p rim a ry o r
M a u n a K e a o r M t.
n o lo g y T e le s c o p e
1 5
m
100 M$
m u ltip le m irro r
G ra h a m
(A riz o n a )
(N N T I)
U S S R
2 5
m
?
s e g m e n te d p rim a ry
?
E S O
(V L T )
1 6
m
270 MD M
a rra y+
in te rfe ro m e te r?
C h ile ?
S p a c e T e le s c o p e (S T )
2.4 m
1 ,2 0 0 M$
u s e :8 5 %
U S ;
la u n c h
1 9 8 6
1 5 %
E u ro p e
N o te : It s h o u ld a ls o b em e n tio n e dth a tla rg e te le s c o p e p r o je c ts (e . g . 1 7 .6 m
m u lti-m irro r, v e ry la rg e S c h m id t) a re p re s e n tlyu n d e r s tu d y in th e
U n ite d
K in g d o m .
2
c o rre c te d m o n o lith ic m ir r o r w o u ld b e a r e a s o n a b le c h o ic e fo r
the VL1 .A t th e tim e o f th eN D

c o m p le tio n w h ic h m ig h t a ls o c o rre s p o n d to th e s ta rt o f th e c o n s tru c tio n o f th e V LT ,e n o u g h e x p e r ie n c e w ill h a v e b e e n a c q u ir e d ( in c lu d in g te s tso na re a l te le s c o p e ) s o th a t th e e x tr a p o la tio no fth eN D

te c h n o lo g y u p to a d ia m e te r o f a b o u t8 -1 0m w ill b e p o s s ib le . T h e c o r r e s p o n d \ue000 in gb la n k w ill n o t n e c e s s a r ily b ea s o lid m e n is c u s b u t w ill m o r e lik e ly b e a h o llo w h o n e y c o m b s tr u c tu r e e ith e r m a d e o u t o f g la s s o r

m e ta !.
T h e re
to o ,
th e
im p o rta n t
in v e s tig a tio n
o n
m e ta l
m irro rs c a rrie d
o u tin
th e fra m e w o rk o f th e
N D
p r o je c t m a y
h a v ea nim p o r ta n t im p a c t o n th e V L1 .
A sa re s u lt o f th e s e v a r io u s c o n s id e r a tio n s , o p tio n(c ) s e e m s
a tth e
m o m e n t th e m o s t a ttra c tiv e . A
s im ila r c o n c lu s io n
w as

a ls o r e a c h e d b y E S O 's S c ie n tific a n d T e c h n ic a l C o m m itte e a t its m e e tin go n8 N o v e m b e r, 1 9 8 3 , w h e re it w a s c le a rly re c o m \ue000 m e n d e d th a t E S O s h o u ld c o n s id e r its V L Ta sa lim ite d a r r a y o f la rg e te le s c o p e s , a n d s ta rta ss o o n a s p o s s ib leo n th e d e fin itio n o f the first o f its8 -1 0

m e tre e le m e n ts .
In te rfe ro m e tryiso n ly m e a n in g fu l if s o m e o f th e te le s c o p e s
a re
m o b ile . A g a in , th e
c o s t a s p e c ts
o f m a k in g
a
te le s c o p e
m o b ile b u t a t th e s a m e tim e s ta b letoh ig h a c c u r a c y , n e e d b e
~
t
u
d
i
e
d
.
A lte r n a tiv e ly , a t le a s tin th eIRit m a y b e p r o fita b le to d o
In te rfe ro m e try
w ith
a
c o m b in a tio n
o f fix e d
8 m
a n d
m o b ile
s ma lle r te le s c o p e s . T h is p o in t a ls o n e e d s fu r th e r s tu d y .
A n o th e r s e t o f s tu d ie s w h ic h s ta rte d a fe w m o n th s a g aisth a t
re la te d
to
th e
c h o ic e
o f
a
s ite
fo r
th e
V L1 .
T h e
a b s o lu te
re q u ire m e n t
fo r
th e
s ite
fo r
a n
e x p e n s iv e
te le s c o p e
to
b e
o p e ra te d
a tits h ig h e s t e ffic ie n c yis e x c e lle n t s e e in g . T h isis
a lre a d y th e c a s e w h e n o n ly s ta n d a r d a p p lic a tio n s lik e v a r io u s

ty p e s o f s p e c tr o s c o p y , o r fa in t o b je c t o b s e rv a tio n , o r in fra re d P h o to m e try a re c o n s id e r e d . Itiss till m o r e s tr o n g ly th e c a s ein In te rfe ro m e tric

a p p lic a tio n s
w h e re
th e
s ig n a l- to - n o is e

ra tio m ay vary witha sm u c h a s th e 3 rd o r 4 th p o w e r o f th e s e e in g p a ra m e te r. A

s e c o n d
a n d
im p o rta n t re q u ire m e n tisv e ry lo w
T h e
P r o c e e d ln g s
o tth e
W o rk s h o p
o n
" E S O 's
V e ry
L a rg e
T e le s c o p e "a re a v a ila b letro m
E S O - G a r c h in g . T h e p ric e to r th e
2 7 0 -p a g e v o lu m eisD M
4 0 .-a n d h a stob e p re p a id (p re te ra b ly b y
c h e q u e ).
O rd e rs s h o u ldb es e n tto
E u ro p e a n S o u th e rn O b s e rv a to ry
F in a n c ia l S e r v ic e s
K a rl-S c h w a rz s c h ild -S tr. 2
0-8046 Garching bei M\u00fcnchen
h u m id ity fo rIR s tu d ie s ; r e g io n s w ith s tr o n g w in d s a re a ls o to b e
a v o id e d .

O n e s h o u ld a ls o n o te th a t th e s e le c tio n o f a s ite is n o t w ith o u t c o n s e q u e n c e fo r th e d e fin itio n o f th e c o n c e p l. F o r in s ta n c e it m a y n o t b e o b v io u s to fin d

a ne x c e lle n t s iteo n w h ic h b o th a c o h e r e n t lo n g b a s e lin e a r r a y a n d th e la r g e te le s c o p e s c a n fit to g e th e r w ith o u t a ffe c tin g th e p e rfo rm a n c e o f o n e o r th e o th e r.

A w o rk s h o po n" S ite T e s tin g fo r F u tu re L a rg e T e le s c o p e s "
w a s h e ld v e ry re c e n tly (O c l.4 -6 )at ESO

inC h ilein o r d e r to "re v ie w w h a tisb e in g d o n e to te s t a n d c o m p a r e th e v e r y b e s t s ite sinth e w o rld a n d w h a t m o r e s h o u ld b e d o n e inth e c o m in g fe w y e a rs ". M e te o ro lo g ic a l o b s e rv a tio n s a n d m e a s u re m e n ts o f to ta l p r e c ip ita b le w a te r c o n te n t h a v ea lre a d y b e e n s ta rte din a fe w v e ry d ry s ite sinn o r th e r n C h ile . S e e in g s tu d ie s s h o u ld b e ta k e n u p n e x t y e a r if th e s e firs t m e a s u re m e n ts a re s a tis fa c to ry .

T o g e th e r w ith th e m e a s u r e m e n ts fo r s ite s e le c tio n , te c h n ic a l s tu d ie s a re b e in g in itia te d ,a sw e il a s a d e ta ile d d is c u s s io n o f th e im p lic a tio n so nth e s c ie n tific o b je c tiv e s . S u g g e s tio n s a n d re s e a rc h

p r o p o s a ls
fro m
in s titu te s
in
th e
E S O
c o u n trie s
o n
s u b je c ts re la te d
to the
V L T

( e ith e r o n c o n c e p ts , te c h n o lo g y , in s tru m e n ta tio n , o rinm o r e s p e c ific a r e a s s u c ha s w id e b a n d h ig h e ffic ie n c y c o a tin g s , im a g e s lic e r s , fib e r o p tic s. . .) w illb e s o llic ite d .

AN ew C la s so f C a ta c ly s m ic V a r ia b le s :
th eIn te rm e d ia te P o la rs
M .M o u c h e t, O b s e rv a to ire d e M e u d o n
In tro d u c tio n
S e v e ra l n e w ly d is c o v e re d h a rd X -ra y s o u rc e s (k T>
2 keV)

w e re id e n tifie d w ith b in a r y s y s te m s , c h a r a c te r iz e d b ya no rb ita l p e rio d o f 3to4 h o u r s a n d b y s tr o n g e m is s io n lin e sin th e o p tic a l a n du ltr a v io le t s u p e r im p o s e d o n a b lu e c o n tin u u m . (F ig .1 , 2 ).

M o re o v e r, th e s e s y s te m s e x h ib it s tro n g p e rio d ic a n d c o h e re n t v a r ia tio n s o n a tim e s c a le o f te n m in u te s , th e s o - c a lie d " p u Is a \ue000 tio n s " , w ith

a fu ll a m p litu d e fro m
10 to40% .(F ig . 3 ). T h e s e
H 2 2 1 5 -0 8 6
4 U 1 8 4 9 -3 1
W A V E L E N G T II
(K )
F ig .1 :A v e ra g e IU E s p e c lru m
o f4 U 1 8 4 9 -3 1 .
6 5 0 0
6 0 0 0
4 5 0 0
4 0 0 0
5 0 0 0
5 5 0 0
W AVELENGTH
(K )
F ig .2 :A v e ra g e o p tic a l s p e c lr u mo f H 2 2 1 5 - 0 8 6 o b la in e da lIh e3 .6 m
le le s c o p e u s in g Ih e lO S a t / a c h e da lIh e B o ile r a n d C h iv e n s s p e c lr o \ue000
g ra p h . N o le Ih e s lr a n g H e/I4 6 8 6\u00c4lin e .
1 9 5 0
1 8 0 0
1 6 5 0
1 5 0 0
1 3 5 0
1 2 0 0
3

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