The International Liquid Mirror Telescope (ILMT), part of the Devasthal Observatory in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, has been commissioned, which will allow astronomers to locate galaxies, quasars, supernovae and other celestial bodies Science.

The telescope, which measures 4 meters wide, is installed on a mountain in the Himalayas, at a height of 2,450 meters, and consists of a bowl of liquid mercury, whose parabolic surface is coated with reflective aluminum. When this bowl rotates slowly, it forms a perfect parabolic shell, similar to the glass mirror of conventional telescopes.

According to the company that built the ILMT, it cost $2 million, much cheaper than the Devasthal Optical Telescope (DOT), which cost $18 million. Previously, the DOT was the Asia’s largest telescopewith its 3.6 meters wide.


The design of the ILMT began in the late 1990s. In 2012, the container containing the liquid mercury was sent to India.However, its construction and commissioning have been repeatedly delayed. Last April, it was possible to rotate the bowl, which contained 50 liters of liquid mercury, forming a parabolic layer 3.5 millimeters thick.

The ILMT’s field of view is a strip of sky about the width of the Moon. ANDThe scan will be from dusk to dawn, due to the rotation of the Earth. Since the ILMT allows the same strip of sky to be observed each night in a row, it will be possible to image low-light astronomical targets with high sensitivity.

In addition, transients such as supernovae, quasars and galaxies will be able to be observed, since comparisons will be made of the images obtained each night to analyze the changes in the sky.

According to project manager Jean Surdej, if the telescope works successfully, its technology will be used to build larger liquid mirrorswhich will be installed on the Moon, because, he argues, they are an ideal place for future giant telescopes since it is less seismically active than the Earth, in addition to lacking an atmosphere.

In the 2000s, NASA and the Canadian Space Agency commissioned liquid mirror telescope studies on the Moon, but they failed.

Source: RT.

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