Visit to the world's largest telescopes

<p>Very Large Telescope ved Paranal-observatoriet.</p>

TRH The Crown Prince and The Crown Princess pay a visit today to the European Southern Observatory (ESO), Paranal, in Chile’s desert area.

At Paranal, which is 130 km south of Antafogasta and 2635 metres above sea level, The Crown Prince Couple will see the world’s largest telescopes, which can observe galaxies, supernovas and nebulae. The placement of the Paranal observatory in Chile’s desert and mountain area provides extremely good conditions for observations with telescopes. The observatory’s telescopes are not disturbed by light from large cities, and the placement high in the mountain area decreases the atmosphere that lies over the telescopes.

The Paranal observatory was built by the ESO, which is a European collaboration. Denmark has been a part of the ESO since 1966 and annually supports the organization with research funding. Therefore, Danish researchers have the opportunity to observe through the telescopes and thus contribute to research findings.

The Paranal observatory houses the Very Large Telescope (VLT), which is the world’s largest telescope, and the VISTA telescope, which has taken innumerable pictures of the universe.

The Crown Prince Couple will be shown the centre’s telescopes during the visit. At sundown, The Crown Prince Couple will be shown the mapping telescope and, together with Danish astronomers and others, see and explore the heavens.

The day before The Crown Prince Couple’s visit, a new telescope, the ALMA telescope, was inaugurated. ALMA is a collection of 66 antennas, which can observe the coldest places in the universe. Construction of the telescope has been going on since 2011, and astronomers hope, among other things, to gain more knowledge about how stars are formed and how the early universe appeared.

Published March 14, 2013

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