The GTC is currently considered to be the best instrument available for researching the sky over the northern hemisphere. Its performance is comparable to the Keck Telescope on Hawaii and the Very Large Telescope operated by the European Southern Observatory on top of the Cerro Paranal in Chile. The new Spanish observatory will not only increase the number of eight to ten-meter telescopes found in the world today, it will also combine a large collector surface with excellent image quality. On the one hand, observations will focus on distant objects. Here, the objective is to obtain new information on where galaxies come from and how they developed, but also to learn more about the origin of the universe. On the other hand, it will be possible to examine faint objects, such as planets near distant suns, more closely.
”It would be fantastic if this telescope could help us to discover a planet that resembles our own,” concludes the Director of the GTC, Pedro Alvarez.
A giant among telescopes: The GTC is 41 meters high, weighs 500 tons and has a primary mirror 10.4 meters in diameter (far left). This consists of 36 hexagonal segments (upper left) that form a surface of 75 square meters that weighs approximately 18 tons. gtc Director Pedro Alvarez (lower left) is hoping to obtain new insights on distant galaxies and the origin of the universe. In July of 2007, the hatch opened for the first time to provide a view of the galaxy.
Photos: (on the bottom left) GTC, (on the right) Ángel L. Aldai
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