Power Telescopes

  • Bruce Dorminey


Antofagasta, Chile’s largest northern city, bills itself as the copper-mining capital of the world. Only 225 kilometers from the world’s largest open-pit copper mine, the city has the look and feel of an old-world, hardscrabble port town that’s seen its share of broken promises. The advent of fiber optic cable as a replacement for copper telephone wire could have dampened the town’s spirits. But whatever its current prospects, this outpost of the northern Atacama desert is where it feels like the end of one world meets the beginning of another. For Antofagasta is the prinicpal gateway to the world’s largest optical telescope—ESO’s $500-million Very Large Telescope (VLT), a pantheon of fiber optic technology.


Base Camp Intergalactic Medium European Southern Observatory Interferometric Fringe Very Large Telescope 


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  1. 1.
    Spyromilio, Jason, astronomer and head of VLT commissioning. Interviewed on July 19, 2000, at Cerro Parana], Chile.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Quattri, Marco, ESO Project Manager for the VLT’s Structural Mechanics. Interviewed on July 19, 1999, at Cerro Paranal, Chile.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Jaffe, Walter, staff astronomer, Leiden Observatory, the Netherlands. Interviewed on July 20, 1999, at Cerro Parana], Chile.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Lopez, Bruno, astronomer, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, Nice, France. Interviewed on October 26, 1999.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Kurster, Martin, astronomer, ESO La Silla, Chile. Interviewed on August 5, 1999, at Bioastronomy 99, Hawaii. Mayor, Michel, astronomer, Geneva Observatory. Interviewed on May 6, 1999, at Observatoire de Haute-Provence, France. A follow-up took place on September 8, 2000.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce Dorminey
    • 1
  1. 1.ParisFrance

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