European Southern Observatory Reports “First Light” for New Instrument and Unveils Stunning New Images.

By Keith Cowing
November 24, 1999
Filed under

According to the European Southern Observatory (ESO) “The first, major astronomical instrument to be installed at the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) was FORS1 (FOcal Reducer and Spectrograph) in September 1998. Immediately after being attached to the Cassegrain focus of the first 8.2-m Unit Telescope, ANTU, it produced a series of spectacular images, cf. ESO PR 14/98. Many important observations have since been made with this outstanding facility.

Now FORS2, its powerful twin, has been installed at the second VLT Unit Telescope, KUEYEN. It is the fourth major instrument at the
VLT after FORS1, ISAAC and UVES.

The FORS2 Commissioning Team that is busy installing and testing this large and complex instrument reports that “First Light” was
successfully achieved already on October 29, 1999, only two days after FORS2 was first mounted at the Cassegrain focus. Since then,
various observation modes have been carefully tested, including normal and high-resolution imaging, echelle and multi-object spectroscopy,
as well as fast photometry with millisecond time resolution. A number of fine images were obtained during this work”.

° Press release and a collection of stunning images from ESO

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.