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Proceedings Paper

Interferometry with the ESO Very Large Telescope
Author(s): Oskar von der Luehe; Frederic Derie; Bertrand Koehler; Samuel A. Leveque; Francesco Paresce; Massimo Verola
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Paper Abstract

The interferometric mode of the ESO very large telescope (VLT) permits coherent combination of stellar light beams collected by four telescopes with 8 m diameter and by several auxiliary telescopes of the 2 m class. While the position of the 8 m telescopes is fixed, auxiliary telescopes can be moved on rails, and can operate from 30 stations distributed on the top of the observatory site for efficient UV coverage. Coherent beam combination can be achieved with the 8 m telescopes alone, with the auxiliary telescopes alone, or with any combination, up to eight telescopes in total. A distinct feature of the interferometric mode is the high sensitivity due to the 8 m pupil of the main telescopes, with the potential for adaptive optics compensation in the near- infrared spectral regime. The VLT interferometer is conceived as an evolutionary program where a significant fraction of the interferometer's functionality is initially funded, and more capability may be added later while experience is gained and further funding becomes available. The scientific program is now defined by a team which consists of a VLTI scientist at ESO and fifteen astronomers from the VLT community. ESO has recently decided to resume the construction of the VLTI which was delayed in December 1993, in order to achieve first interferometric fringes with two of the 8 m telescopes around the year 2000, and routine operation with 2 m auxiliary telescopes from 2003 onwards. This paper presents an overview of the recent evolution of the project and its future development.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 March 1997
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 2871, Optical Telescopes of Today and Tomorrow, (21 March 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.269074
Show Author Affiliations
Oskar von der Luehe, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
Frederic Derie, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
Bertrand Koehler, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
Samuel A. Leveque, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
Francesco Paresce, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
Massimo Verola, European Southern Observatory (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2871:
Optical Telescopes of Today and Tomorrow
Arne L. Ardeberg, Editor(s)

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