World’s first liquid mirror telescope from India

  • The telescope is owned and operated by Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Science (ARIES).
  • It also is the first-ever liquid mirror telescope to be produced for astronomy.
  • The telescope will be used to observe the galaxies and other cosmic objects present across the universe

India has set up the nation’s first-ever ‘liquid mirror telescope’ at Uttarakhand’s Devasthal Observatory, which is also Asia’s largest International Liquid Mirror Telescope. It is at a height of 2,450 meters and was set up in India in collaboration with Belgium, Canada, Poland, and Uzbekistan. It was designed and built at the Advanced Mechanical and Optical Systems Corporation and the Centre Spatial de Liège in Belgium.

The telescope is owned and operated by Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Science (ARIES). It is also the first-ever liquid mirror telescope to be commissioned for astronomy. The telescope will be used to observe the galaxies and other cosmic objects present across the universe.

Conventional telescopes make use of polished glass mirrors using a single combination of curved surfaces and are used to look at special celestial objects at particular time frames. But a liquid mirror telescope makes use of reflective liquids. The one installed at Devasthal makes use of Mercury and is capable of showing a number of celestial objects including stars, galaxies, supernovae explosions, asteroids, space debris, etc.

The telescope is filled with 50 liters of mercury that is rotated at a fixed constant speed along the vertical axis of the ILMT. After continuous circular motions, the mercury in the container spreads and creates a thin layer, forming a paraboloid-shaped reflecting surface that then acts as the mirror. It is capable of generating big volumes of data which is around 10 to 15GB per night and is expected to work for the coming five years starting October 2022.

Disclaimer: This information is covered based on the latest research and development available. However, it may not fully reflect all current aspects of the subject matter.

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