India’s First Liquid Mirror Telescope
- 04 Jun 2022
- 5 min read
Why in News?
Recently, Devasthal Observatory campus owned by Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), Nainital in Uttarakhand has set-up the International Liquid-Mirror Telescope (ILMT).
What are the Key Highlights about ILMT?
- It has become the world's first Liquid-Mirror Telescope (LMT) to be commissioned for astronomy and also one of its kind to be operational anywhere in the world.
- Asteroids, supernovae, space debris and all other celestial objects will be observed using ILMT from an altitude of 2,450 metres in the Himalayas.
- Previously built telescopes either tracked satellites or were deployed for military purposes.
- ILMT will be the third telescope facility to come up at Devasthal.
- Devasthal is one of the world’s original sites for obtaining astronomical observations.
- Devasthal Optical Telescope (DOT) and Devasthal Fast Optical Telescope (DFOT) are the other two telescope facilities at Devasthal.
- In October 2022, full-scale scientific operations of ILMT will be started.
- It will be working along with India’s largest operating Devasthal Optical Telescope (DOT).
- The countries involved in ILMT’s development are India, Belgium, Canada, Poland and Uzbekistan.
How is LMT Different from Conventional Telescope?
- A LMT is a stationary telescope whereas a conventional telescope moves along the direction of the object of interest in the sky.
- A LMT will survey and capture any and all possible celestial objects such as stars, galaxies, supernovae explosions, asteroids and even space debris. However, a conventional captures just a piece of sky at a given point of time.
- LMT comprises mirrors with a reflective liquid (ILMT has mercury as reflective liquid). On the other hand, a conventional telescope uses highly-polished glass mirrors.
- While ILMT will be capturing images of the sky on all nights, conventional telescopes observe specific objects in the sky for fixed hours only.
What is the Significance of ILMT?
- Enormous amount of data (10-15 GB/night) will be generated. This will be significant for the global scientific communities.
- Latest computational tools, like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and big data analytics will be deployed for screening, processing and analyzing the data.
- Selected data can be used as a base data for carrying out further focused research using spectrographs, near-Infrared spectrograph mounted on the in-house DOT.