The universe just got a little smaller, thanks to a new project from the European Southern Observatory in Chile.
One of the primary goals of the project was to integrate the operation of its four Unit Telescopes together to create a Very Large Telescope (VLT), an optical telescope with the largest collecting area in the world.
Thanks to an instrument named ESPRESSO, that goal has now been achieved.
ESPRESSO stands for Echelle Spectrograph for Rocky Exoplanet and Stable Spectroscopic Observations, meaning it will be used to hunt for planets in orbit around distant stars
By exploiting the light-gathering capabilities of the individual VLTs, it has the light-gathering capacity of a 52-foot (16-meter) optical telescope.
“ESO has realized a dream that dates back to the time when the VLT was conceived in the 1980s: bringing the light from all four Unit Telescopes on Cerro Paranal together at an incoherent focus to feed a single instrument!” Gaspare Lo Curto of ESO said in a statement.