© Sebastian Egner
© Sebastian Egner
Science and technology
Article
NAOMI -- the New Adaptive Optics Module for Interferometry -- shas been installed on each of four auxiliary telescopes (ATs) of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) maintained by the European Southern Observatory (ESO). The new system allows observations even in less than optimal atmospheric conditions, and provides better overall results in all conditions.
VLTI us the interferometric mode of the Very Large Telescope located at the Paranal Observatory in Chili, the flagship European facility for ground-based astronomy. NAOMI is a joint project of the ESO, France's CNRS, and the Grenoble research center l'Institut de Planétologie et d'Astrophysique de Grenoble (IPAG).

Interferometry allows the combination of an array of smaller telescopes into a larger, virtual telescope. NAOMI combines four unit telescopes of 1.8 meters into a larger VLTI 140 meters in diameter. This mode is powerful enough to see solar surfaces, yellow stars, and the enviroment surrounding the black hole at the heart of the Milky Way. 

NAOMI replaces an older system -- STRAP (System for Tip/tilt Removal with Avalanche Photodiodes) -- which worked well in good atmospheric conditions but not when conditions degraded. With NAOMI, the smaller ATs are less sensitive to atmospheric conditions. The new system has also allowed other large instruments at the facility --  PIONEER, GRAVITY, and MATISSE -- to reach their full potential. 

Publié le December 7, 2018
Mis à jour le December 13, 2018

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