Backstage science – the telescope with 24 eyes

KMOS, the K-band Multi-Object Spectrometer, is a huge instrument for a Very Large Telescope in Chile. It’s currently being built and tested at the Astronomy Technology Centre in Edinbugh by, amongst others, my friend Michele. I’ll let him tell you all about it:

Floating in space

I couldn’t resist posting the video that has the honour of being today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day. You’ve probably all seen beautiful time-lapse movies showing the rotation of the heavens throughout the night; Niall’s even writen about some particularly lovely examples, filmed at the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. However, the movie below is special. It shows things as they really are – it’s not the sky that rotates, we do:

The telescopes seen in the film make up the Very Large Telescope in Chile. The lasers they fire are used to improve the quality of their observations.

Really, we’re just floating in space.