Very Large Telescope – University of Copenhagen

Dark Cosmology Centre > Research > Tools >> > Very Large Telescope

The Very Large Telescope (VLT) is located on the summit of the Cerro Paranal in the Chilean Atacama desert, 2635 m above sea level. The VLT consists of four 8.2m alt-az telescopes with a range of available instrumentation covering optical and near-IR wavelengths. The VLT also includes 4 Auxiliary Telescopes used for interferometry.

At DARK we mainly use the VLT for target-of-opportunity observations of gamma-ray bursts. The aim is to secure spectroscopy of the optical afterglows or to probe variable absorption line with the high resolution spectrographs using the rapid-response mode in cases of rapidly observable afterglows. We have also used the VLT extensively for imaging and spectroscopy of gamma-ray burst host galaxies.

Other programs conducted at the VLT by DARK researchers include spectroscopy of type Ia supernovae for measuring the dark energy content of the Universe, spectropolarimetry of supernovae to probe their geometry, and studies of quasar absorption lines systems. Over the period 2009-2012 we will be using the X-shooter spectrograph, partly built at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, intensively on a range of Guaranteed Time Observation (GTO) programs (in total more than 30 nights).