World's most powerful telescope achieves "First Binocular Light"

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Washington, March 7 : The world's most powerful telescope - the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) on Mount Graham, Arizona, US, has taken celestial images using its twin side-by-side, 8.4-meter (27.6 foot) primary mirrors together, achieving first "binocular" light.

The first binocular light images show three false-color renditions of the spiral galaxy NGC 2770. The galaxy is 102 million light years from our Milky Way, a relatively close neighbor. The galaxy has a flat disk of stars and glowing gas and is tipped slightly toward our line of sight.

The first image combines ultraviolet and green light and emphasizes the clumpy regions of newly formed hot stars in the spiral arms.

The second image combines two deep red colors to highlight the smoother distribution of older, cooler stars.

The third image is a composite of ultraviolet, green and deep red light and shows the detailed structure of hot, moderate and cool stars in the galaxy.

The LBT has a light-collecting area equivalent to a single 11.8-meter (39-foot) surface and will combine light to produce the image sharpness equivalent to a single 22.8-meter (75-foot) telescope.

According to UA Steward Observatory Director, Regents' Professor and LBT Corp. President Peter A. Strittmatter, "The images that this telescope will produce will be like none seen before. The power and clarity of this machine is in a class of its own. It will provide unmatched ability to peer into history, seeing the birth of the universe."

"When all the pieces are in place, the LBT will take images sharper than any other telescope. I think it's the most likely telescope to take the first pictures of planets around other stars because of the unique advanced technologies used to build it," said Regents' Professor and Steward Observatory Mirror Lab Director Roger Angel.

ANI

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