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It's full of stars!
May 26, 2011 8:10 AM   Subscribe

VLT (Very Large Telescope) HD Timelapse Footage (8min SLYT)
posted by jermsplan (29 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's just gorgeous.
posted by merocet at 8:20 AM on May 26, 2011


Beautiful! Every time one of the little doors opened, I half-expected a synth-voice in the music.
posted by jquinby at 8:24 AM on May 26, 2011


Beautiful.

That video is a really inspiring representation of pure science. The orange adaptive-optics laser was my favorite part.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 8:25 AM on May 26, 2011


This is OK if you're into awe-inspiring majesty and shit like that.
posted by Mister_A at 8:27 AM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Lovely. This makes me want to go shoot out every single streetlight and house floodlight so I can see this at home.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 8:33 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


My God, this is what Missile Command should look like.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:41 AM on May 26, 2011


Wow. Thanks.
posted by kinnakeet at 8:47 AM on May 26, 2011


Somehow I thought this was going to be time-lapse taken with the telescope, not *of* the telescope. Kind of like what you might think if you read "Canon 5D Mk II HD timelapse footage", which is to say, probably not video of the camera sitting on top of a hill while the stars rose.

Which isn't to say the video's not pretty, it's just not what I was thinking.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 8:49 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Seeing, for ones own eyes, that we're comparatively microscopic specs of dirty, greasy water scurrying around at the bottom of a gravity well, surrounded by for all intents and purposes an infinite number of stars with worlds of their own all as we and everything we love and cherish slowly revolve -- for the moment, safely -- on our tiny blue marble ... is the best foundation I know for being excellent to each other. And partying on, dude.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:49 AM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


This stunning video is lying when it shows the stars wheeling above our familiar telescopes and mountains. The truth is, we are on a spinning mote of a world, barely hanging on as we fall into the glittering depths of an eternal Galactic night.
posted by growli at 8:49 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seeing, for ones own eyes, that we're comparatively microscopic specs of dirty, greasy water scurrying around at the bottom of a gravity well, surrounded by for all intents and purposes an infinite number of stars with worlds of their own all as we and everything we love and cherish slowly revolve -- for the moment, safely -- on our tiny blue marble ... is the best foundation I know for being excellent to each other.

Or that your fellow humans are microscopic specs of dirty, greasy water and it really doesn't matter what you do to or with them. The universe doesn't care and will be merrily go about its infinitely beautiful way, not caring one iota what you do. And partying on, dude.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:59 AM on May 26, 2011


I love these videos, even ones of VLT's doing their thing against the starry backdrop. Being blinded by the city light and/or humidity, I don't think I've ever really seen the sky like that and it makes me think that the ancients weren't ignorant and insane, they were actually "seeing" really cool shit when they looked up at the sky and there simply was no reason to dispel their own popular version of astrology.
posted by jsavimbi at 9:11 AM on May 26, 2011


Um, I welcome our new laser-shooting robot telescope overlords?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:22 AM on May 26, 2011


Jermsplan, my kids thank you. I expect to see this a number of times over the long weekend.
posted by ES Mom at 9:56 AM on May 26, 2011


I think the coolest thing was when one of them was firing a laser beam upwards. (To measure atmospheric distortion for the adaptive optics.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:21 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love how in timelapse the telescopes seem to be spinning around frantically, like they're saying "Oh man! Lookit that! Wow! Holy shit! Ooh, shooting star! Didja see that?"
posted by notmydesk at 10:33 AM on May 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wow.
posted by zennie at 10:57 AM on May 26, 2011


jsavimbi: it's incredible. I've used one of ESO's smaller telescopes at a somewhat poorer site in Chile and every time I've been I just sit out there for a bit, flabbergasted. I know the sky is full of stuff we can't see in more mundane locations, and more you can't see in the best, but it blows me away every time.

notmydesk: you remind me of the 'emergency' observations that sometimes happens. If something unexpected and short lived happens (like a gamma ray burst) the telescope can be 'stolen' off the current user to pretty much do that. You kind of hope it doesn't happen to you because you lose that precious time, but it usually is for something sufficiently 'holy shit!' so that's ok!
posted by edd at 10:59 AM on May 26, 2011


Ok. from reading these comments, I now know what the lasers are doing. Can somebody (and I know you can) please tell me why the doors are opening and closing constantly? I'm guessing it has to do with regulating the temperature of the equipment but I'd love some more specifics.
posted by No more Mr. Smartypants at 11:42 AM on May 26, 2011


Chocolate Pickle: "I think the coolest thing was when one of them was firing a laser beam upwards. (To measure atmospheric distortion for the adaptive optics.)"

AH! Thank you. I came in to find out why they were doing that.

I'm color-blind. What color was the laser?
posted by zarq at 11:56 AM on May 26, 2011


I can't think of a particularly good reason to close the dome, honestly. Unless they want to take regular dome flats (where you image the inside of the dome to get an idea of your camera's response to a uniform surface) I'm not sure I know. Usually you want to leave the dome open well in advance to let the atmosphere inside get to the same state as that outside, and any temperature sensitive stuff is regulated with cryostats or whatever.

I'm going to sound stupid now when someone comes up with a really obvious reason I've forgotten about.
posted by edd at 12:33 PM on May 26, 2011


Mr. Smartypants, I think the vents are to equilibrate the temperature (and possible the humidity) inside and outside the dome. Here's a brief note about the installation of vents on the Kitt Peak (AZ) 4m telescope which says they discovered "the local thermal environment is the largest culprit currently degrading" image quality. Course, I'm not sure why they constantly open and shut...
posted by pjenks at 12:34 PM on May 26, 2011


OK, looking again at the video the dome doors stay open but some kind of extra shutter rises. This might be to block off light from near the ground when the scope is pointing near upwards, but I'm honestly not that sure. Had never noticed that about them before.
posted by edd at 12:41 PM on May 26, 2011


Dug out some early VLT design documents and I think that shutter is just a wind shield. You also notice the side shutters close when facing a particular direction - presumably when the wind is blowing that way.
posted by edd at 12:47 PM on May 26, 2011


Most of the 'activity' is about thermal control and regulating wind. Wind is good, because it keeps the air inside the telscope closer to isothermal, but it also shakes the telescope, causing blurry images. The wind screen that raises up over the shutter opening is designed to cut down on windshake.

The laser is an orange sodium laser.
posted by kiltedtaco at 1:55 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace
posted by stbalbach at 3:55 PM on May 26, 2011


Not C-beams glittering in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate, but close enough.
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 8:48 PM on May 26, 2011


Very large galaxy. Very small telescopes.

This was awesome, in the original sense.
posted by otherthings_ at 11:15 PM on May 26, 2011


Just next door to the VLT, the VLT Survey Telescope has just taken its first images. See also. That picture of Messier 17 is just astonishingly beautiful.
posted by edd at 7:13 AM on June 8, 2011


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