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The University of Granada will take part in the operation of the Grantecan, world’s greatest telescope

The universe will be a bit closer to Earth within a few months. World’s greatest telescope, the Great Telescope Canary Islands (Grantecan), is gathering momentum to “come to light” (this is, to be used for the first time to observe the firmament), and the University of Granada is present in this big project.

The professor of Astrophysics Eduardo Battaner has participated since 1999 in the Grantecan Monitoring Commission, one of the greatest works of Spanish Science of all times, that will be located at the Observatory of the Roque de los Muchachos of la Palma (Canary Islands). A group leaded by him is part of the EAST group, responsible for the scientific operation of a multi-object spectrograph situated in the infrared close to the Grantecan called EMIR.

With a budget of more than one hundred million euros, the Great Telescope Canary Islands is almost 30 metros high by 13 wide, and the mirror diameter measurement (that will be segmented) is 10.2 m. The project has been financed by Spain (Ministry of Education and Science and the Regional Government of the Canary Islands), México (Institute of Astronomy of the Autonomous National University of México and the Spanish National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics) and the United States (University of Florida). Spain will contribute the main part of the budget.

Professor Battaner is part, together with other Spanish and foreign experts, of that Committee in charge of the construction, installation and set in motion of the Grantecan. The group of the University of Granada is currently working on their first project carried out with the help of the new telescope: the study of the truncations of the stellar disc of the galaxy.

The research work, sponsored by the UGR [], requires to carry out sharp observations of the galaxies due to the fact that they intend to observe the faintest external regions which, given the distance of such formations from Earth (close to 30 million light years from our planet), can only be made with a telescope with the technical characteristics of the Grantecan.

The telescope will produce images with a Strehl of 0.33 (assuming a quality of image in the ORM of 0.5 seconds of arch and operating with the image movement correction system) at wavelengths superior to 4.8 microns (or 3.5 microns in cases of very high quality of image). This sophisticated machine will be located in an impressive building crowned by a 31-meter-diameter spherical dome.

Antonio Marín Ruiz | alfa
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