Recently, India has set up its first-ever 'liquid mirror telescope' at Devasthal Observatory in Uttarakhand.
It became the world’s first liquid-mirror telescope to be commissioned for astronomy.
Discuss the significance of the International Liquid Mirror Telescope (ILMT).
Established on the campus owned by Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), Nainital in Uttarakhand.
It will hold the unique tag of being the maiden liquid telescope globally to be designed exclusively for astronomical purposes.
It will observe asteroids, supernovae, space debris and all other celestial objects from an altitude of 2,450 metres in the Himalayas.
ILMT will be the third telescope to be operating from Devasthal after the 3.6-metre Devasthal Optical Telescope (DOT) — the largest in India commissioned in 2016 — and the 1.3-metre Devasthal Fast Optical Telescope (DFOT) inaugurated in 2010.
How is it Different from Conventional Telescope?
A conventional telescope is steered to point towards the celestial sourceof interest in the sky for observations.
The liquid-mirror telescopes, on the other hand, are stationary telescopes that image a strip of the sky which is at the zenith at a given point of time in the night.
A liquid-mirror telescope will survey and capture any and all possible celestial objects — from stars, galaxies, supernovae explosions, and asteroids to space debris.
Conventional telescopes have highly polished glass mirrors — either single or a combination of curved ones — that are steered in a controlled fashion to focus on the targetted celestial object on specific nights. The light is then reflected to create images.
The liquid-telescope is made up of mirrors with a reflective liquid, in this case, mercury — a metal which has a high light-reflecting capacity.
Also, watch a video on the crucial topic Space Research by Sharad Tripathi Sir our faculty for Science and Technology:
Countries Involved in its Development
India, Belgium, Canada, Poland and Uzbekistan are the main countries that have collaborated to set up the ILMT.
The telescope was designed and built at the Advanced Mechanical and Optical Systems Corporation and the Centre Spatial de Liège in Belgium.
Significance of ILMT
It is estimated that the ILMT is capable of generating 10-15 GB/night. This will be significant for the global scientific communities.
The ILMT will deploy the latest computational tools, like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and big data analytics to process and analyse large data.
Selected data can be used as a base data for carrying out further focused research using spectrographs, and near-Infrared spectrographs mounted on the in-house DOT.