Very Large Survey Telescope - Il Telescopio

Site: Cerro Paranal –Deserto di Atacama - Chile
State: completed
Pre-Assembly in Italy, Packing &Transport, Erection on Site, Commissioning and Testing of Rotating Building.

Date: 2007-2011

Client: INAF – VSTceN Italy

Category: astronomy

Credits: ESO/G. Lombardi, Prof. Capaccioli, EIE GROUP

The VST Telescope


The Very Large Survey Telescope (VST), is an alt-azimuthal wide-field optical instrument. It is the result of a joint cooperation between ESO (European astronomical Observatory), that was responsible for the civil engineering works and the OAC (Osservatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte) of Naples, institute member of the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF), that was in charge of the coordination of the telescope technological and scientific aspects.
The VST, which is installed at La Silla, at ESO’s Paranal Observatory (2635m), was inaugurated in October 2011 and its primary function is supporting the four VLT unit telescopes with wide-field imaging surveys and to explore the large-scale structure of the visible Universe.

The VST, is provided with a 2.65m diameter primary mirror, a 0.94m secondary mirror and a powerful OmegaCAM wide-field camera which is positioned at the heart of the VST, capable of performing large-scale imaging to detect rare astronomical objects, which will be investigated with the VLTs. A computer-controlled active optics system controls the shape of the M1 and the position of the M2 keeping them in perfect position all the time.

Characteristics of the VST Telescope:

In June 2002, following to an accident which saw the primary mirror going into pieces during transportation, EIE got involved in the design and fabrication of the VST telescope also. EIE was asked a complete telescope review and a support in the project management. Already at the end of 2010 the telescope was fully mounted and tested on site. The VST first light was one year later and since then the telescope performs amazing imaging and makes Big Science.
EIE's activities during the telescope design review consisted specifically in:

• Technical assistance during pre-assembly in Italy;
• Cooling system design and installation;
• Electrical cabling layout
• Elevation cable drapes design and installation;
• Technical assistance during on-site assembly activities

The VST telescope is furthermore equipped with:

• ALT cable drape;
• AZ and ALT encoders;
• ALT Manual locking pin;
• ALT manual drive;
• M1 cover;
• Stop Switches interlocks
• Electrical Installations
• Control System

The Science with VST:

The primary role of the VST telescope is to support the four Very Large Telescope (VLT) in the Survey programs: The OMEGAcam camera with a field of view of one square degree (almost two full moons) is a wide-field imaging instrument for exploring rare objects in the visible Universe and can identify the most suitable candidates for detailed examination with the VLTs.
The VST studies remote bodies in the Solar System, like trans-Neptunian objects and searches extra-solar planet transits.
VST will make possible extensive studies on the Milky Way, as well as surveys on nearby galaxies, intra-cluster planetary nebulae and faint objects.
In the cosmology field the VST will observe medium-redshift supernovae to fix the cosmic distance scale and will help astronomers to investigate the expansion of the Universe.

Read Prof. Massimo Capaccioli – Director of the Capodimonte Observatory – Neaples, at the time of the VST project.

Link to the official page of ESO VST Telescope: