India sets up first and largest liquid mirror telescope to track space debris, asteroids
India has commissioned a one-of-a-kind liquid mirror telescope to monitor the sky for transitory or variable objects such as supernovae, space debris, gravitational lenses, and asteroids. Asia’s largest telescope has been set up atop a mountain in Uttarakhand’s Himalayan range, named Devasthal. International Liquid Mirror Telescope is India’s most prominent and first liquid mirror telescope.
ILMT will help survey the sky, thus making it possible to mark various galaxies and other astronomical sources. Astronomers from India, Belgium, and Canada built the innovative telescope, which has a 4-meter diameter rotating mirror made up of a thin film of liquid mercury and focuses and collects light. Located at an altitude of 2450 meters at the Devasthal Observatory campus of ARIES (Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences) situated in Nanital, Uttarakhand.
“The scientists from the three countries spun a pool of mercury, a reflective liquid, so the surface curved into a parabolic shape ideal for focusing light,” the ministry said. They further stated that a thin transparent film of mylar preserves the mercury from the wind and the reflected light passes through the complex multi lenses and the optical corrector. A huge format electronic camera is situated at the focus, records the image, and produces sharp images over a wide field of view.
The director of ARIES, Dipankar Banerjee, said he believes this project will engage and motivate young minds from scientific and engineering backgrounds to confront the challenge. He said this as the Devasthal Observatory hosted two four-meter class telescopes, the International Liquid-Mirror Telescope (ILMT) and the Devasthal Optical Telescope (DOT).
Experts said that after regular science operations will operate later this year, ILMT will manufacture 10 GB of data daily at night and will quickly be examined to reveal variable and transient stellar sources.