India Sets Up First & Asia’s Largest Liquid Mirror Telescope In Uttarakhand’s Devasthal

India has commissioned a one-of-a-kind liquid-mirror telescope atop a mountain in Uttarakhand’s Himalayan range that will monitor the sky for transitory or variable objects such as supernovae, gravitational lenses, space debris, and asteroids. International Liquid Mirror Telescope (ILMT) is the country’s first and largest liquid-mirror telescope, as well as the largest in Asia.

Important Points

  • It has been Built by astronomers from India, Belgium and Canada.
  • The novel instrument employs a 4-meter-diameter rotating mirror made up of a thin film of liquid mercury to collect and focus light.
  • It is located at an altitude of 2450 metres at the Devasthal Observatory campus of Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), an autonomous institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India in Nainital district, Uttarakhand.

Scientists from the three countries spun a pool of mercury which is a reflective liquid, so that the surface curved into a parabolic shape which is ideal for focusing light, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology. It further states that a thin transparent film of mylar protects the mercury from the wind as the reflected light passes through a sophisticated multi-lens optical corrector that produces sharp images over a wide field of view. A large-format electronic camera is also located at the focus that records the images.