In the desert of northern Chile, a new telescope has opened for business, completing a quartet of instruments collectively known as the Very Large Telescope. Each instrument gathers light with an
8.2-meter mirror and is designed to work both independently and as part of a single, giant telescope.
The fourth and final detector took its first official images on Sept. 3 at Paranal Observatory in the Atacama Desert. Next year, researchers will begin using some of the four 8.2-m telescopes in concert, combining the light they collect. The resulting image, they predict, will give a startlingly clear view of the heavens–one never before possible with visible light.