Blazing the Trail for a Binocular Telescope: Pathfinder Arrives at Mt. Graham

February 26, 2013

Computer rendering of the Pathfinder experiment mounted at the LBT. Zoom Image
Computer rendering of the Pathfinder experiment mounted at the LBT.

The mere fact that the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona features two 8,4 meter diameter mirrors on a single mount is impressive enough. But this telescope is designed to be so much more: With the help of the LINC-NIRVANA instrument currently being assembled at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), the two mirrors will be linked to act like a single, much larger telescope. The resulting "interferometer" will be able to image details that would otherwise only be accessible with a (single) telescope with a 23-meter mirror.

The LINC-NIRVANA team celebrates the complete assembly of the Pathfinder experiment (Dec 2012). Zoom Image
The LINC-NIRVANA team celebrates the complete assembly of the Pathfinder experiment (Dec 2012).

The technology used by LINC-NIRVANA is cutting-edge. In order to accelerate the final deployment of this complex instrument, the scientists and engineers working on the project have developed the Pathfinder experiment, which will test key aspects of LINC-NIRVANA at the LBT. Pathfinder was constructed in an intensive development program, and left the MPIA in mid-February. On February 20, Pathfinder arrived at its final destination at the LBT site in eastern Arizona. Over the next months, the LINC-NIRVANA team will install Pathfinder and run the necessary experiments to blaze the trail for their unique interferometric imager.

The Pathfinder shipment arrives at the basecamp of the Large Binocular Telescope (20 Feb 2013) Zoom Image
The Pathfinder shipment arrives at the basecamp of the Large Binocular Telescope (20 Feb 2013)
 
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