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The International Liquid-Mirror Telescope (ILMT)- UPSC Current Affairs

Jun 10, 2022

The International Liquid-Mirror Telescope (ILMT)

Today's edition of our Current Affairs Dialog Box comprises a discussion on The International Liquid-Mirror Telescope (ILMT).

Navigate through the article to get valuable insights on the topic and upgrade your IAS Preparation. Its relevance to the UPSC CSE syllabus is mentioned below:

For Prelims: Current affairs of national and international importance.

For Mains: Indigenization of Technology, Space Technology, Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology, Scientific Innovations & Discoveries

Also, read our yesterday's edition of Current Affairs on Elections to the Rajya Sabha

Why in the News?

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.

Probable Question

Discuss the significance of the International Liquid Mirror Telescope (ILMT). 

About  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 source of 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.

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