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Friday, July 24, 2009

Huge telescope starts scouring the universe from Spain's Canary Islands

A PALMA, Canary Islands - "One of the world's most powerful telescopes has opened its shutters for the first time to begin exploring faint light from distant parts of the universe.

The Gran Telescopio Canarias, a C130 million ($185 million) telescope featuring a 34-foot (10.4-meter) reflecting mirror, sits atop an extinct volcano. Its location above cloud cover takes advantage of the pristine skies in the Atlantic Ocean.

Planning for the telescope began in 1987 and has involved more than 1,000 people from 100 companies. It was inaugurated Friday by King Juan Carlos.

The Canary Islands Astrophysics Institute, which runs the telescope, says it will capture the birth of stars, study characteristics of black holes and decipher some of the chemical components of the Big Bang."


Here is some additional information about the Gran Telescopio Canarias:
(a) The telescope is 10.4m telescope with a segmented primary mirror Its primary mirror is composed of 36 hexagonal segments that work together as a single piece of reflective glass. It is made of Zerodur glass-ceramic by the German company Schott AG.

(b The telescope is sited on a volcanic peak 2,400 metres above sea level and took 7 years to construct.The construction of the telescope and its two Day One science instruments; OSIRIS and CanariCam, cost €105 million.The $180 million GTC is owned by Spain, Mexico and the University of Florida.

(c)The telescope already is in the business of discovering extrasolar planets. During its commissioning phase, astronomers using GTC discovered a planet transiting a distant star.

(d)At the top of my blog entry is one of the first images recorded by the GTC on the 17th June 2009, its the M51 or more commonly known as Galaxia Remolino which is found 23 million light years away from Earth. The image was recorded by Daniel López (Instituto de Astrofisica Canarias) using the OSIRIS instrument within the GTC telescope, the difference is that without the GTC the image would have to be exposed for four hours, whereas with the new technology it took two minutes. Daniel has his own website with astro photographs called Cielos del Teide which translates to the skies of Teide.

You can watch a video concerning the telescope by going to:

sources of text information:


(c)source of photo of the telescope:

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.