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New UK Telescope to Study Southern Skies
May 1999
LONDON, England, May 17 -- British astronomers report that their proposal for a special new telescope to survey southern skies has been approved. VISTA -- the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy -- will survey large areas of the sky for very faint stars and galaxies. In a single 10-minute exposure, VISTA will be able to capture the images of 100,000 objects.
A consortium of 18 UK universities proposed the 4-m telescope. Astronomers hope to place VISTA at one of the observatory sites in the high Atacama Desert in the foothills of the Chilean Andes, where sky quality for astronomy is outstanding. The telescope will be a significant advance over existing facilities for surveys of the southern sky due to its large mirror, wide field of view, sharp images and sensitive detectors for light and infrared radiation.

The scientific observation of celestial radiation that has reached the vicinity of Earth, and the interpretation of these observations to determine the characteristics of the extraterrestrial bodies and phenomena that have emitted the radiation.
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