The Worldwide Liquid Mirror Telescope, perched excessive within the Himalayas, has lastly began making observations. If it succeeds, we might in the future put a a lot bigger liquid telescope on the moon
6 December 2022
ATOP an Indian mountain sits a 4-metre-wide reflecting basin, its ripple-free floor mirroring all the pieces above it. It’s as if somebody scooped up a chunk of the Bolivian salt flats, the world’s largest pure mirror, and put it within the Himalayas. However in contrast to South America’s Salar de Uyuni, the place the salt plains coated by water produce unbelievable reflections that draw many sightseers, the basin on the mountain is full of liquid mercury. And that is no vacationer hotspot: it could possibly solely be accessed by a small group of scientists who use it to watch the heavens.
The basin is a part of a novel telescope. Located in an observatory within the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, the Worldwide Liquid Mirror Telescope (ILMT) makes use of the pool of shiny metallic to assemble mild from the skies.
Such telescopes have advantages over typical ones. Most significantly, they’re much cheaper to construct. However though the concept of a liquid telescope has been round for hundreds of years, making a viable one has confirmed fiendishly tough. The ILMT was within the works for greater than a decade. This 12 months, it opened its eye for the primary time. It’s the largest of its sort, and the primary constructed to hold out astronomical observations.
The telescope scans the evening sky within the hope of recognizing new phenomena – when it isn’t raining, that’s. However astronomers hope the potential of those gadgets will in the future attain far increased than …