The first liquid mirror telescope in the country and the largest in Asia – was commissioned atop Devasthal, a hill in Uttarakhand. This will now keep a watch on the overhead sky to identify transient or variable objects such as supernovae, gravitational lenses, space debris, and asteroids.
About the Indian Liquid Mirror Telescope:
- The Indian Liquid Mirror Telescope (ILMT) will help in surveying the sky, making it possible to observe several galaxies and other astronomical sources just by staring at the strip of sky that passes overhead.
- Built by astronomers from India, Belgium and Canada, the novel instrument employs a 4-meter-diameter rotating mirror made up of a thin film of liquid mercury to collect and focus light.
- It is located at an altitude of 2,450 metres at the Devasthal Observatory campus of Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), an autonomous institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India in Nainital district, Uttarakhand.
The scientists from the three countries spun a pool of mercury, which is a reflective liquid so that the surface curved into a parabolic shape. It is ideal for focusing light. A thin transparent film of mylar protects the mercury from the wind. The reflected light passes through a sophisticated multi-lens optical corrector that produces sharp images over a wide field of view. A large-format electronic camera located at the focus records the images.
Important takeaways for all competitive exams:
- Uttarakhand Chief Minister: Pushkar Singh Dhami;
- Uttarakhand Capitals: Dehradun (Winter), Gairsain (Summer);
- Uttarakhand Governor: Lt Gen Gurmit Singh.