The ING Telescopes
ING Banner
Home > Public Information > Virtual Tour of the ING > The Telescopes

The Telescopes of the Isaac Newton Group

THERE ARE THREE telescopes in the Isaac Newton Group :

  • 4.2 m William Herschel Telescope (WHT)
  • 2.5 m Isaac Newton Telescope (INT)
  • 1.0 m Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope (JKT)
All three are reflecting telescopes, collecting and focusing the light from stars and galaxies by mean of mirrors whose reflecting surfaces have been figured to within a fraction of the wavelength of light. Each telescope is housed in its own dome, which is opened at night to allow an unobstructed view of the sky. The observatory offers a wide range of instruments, allowing the light from distant objects to be analysed in different ways. These instruments are continually being upgraded and enhanced to keep the telescopes scientifically competitive.

The three telescopes have complementary roles:
- The WHT, with its 4.2 m diameter primary mirror , is the largest telescope in Western Europe. It was first operational in August 1987. It is a general purpose telescope equipped with instruments for a wide range of astronomical observations. WHT overall height from base is 18.1 m. Logo: [gif,35k][jpg,29k] . This is a scheme of the light path inside the telescope. William Herschel Telescope
- The INT was originally used at Herstmonceux in the UK, but was moved to La Palma and has been rebuilt with a new mirror and new instrumentation. It has a 2.5 m diameter primary mirror and is mostly used for wide-field imaging and spectroscopy. It became operational in May 1984. Logo: [gif,34k][jpg,103k]. Isaac Newton Telescope
- The JKT has a primary mirror of 1 m diameter. It is mainly used for observing relatively bright objects. It was first operational in May 1984. Logo: [gif,33k][jpg,27k]. Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope
Considering the weight of the instruments, the telescopes move with astounding precision. The WHT, for example, weighs 190 tonnes and has a pointing accuracy of 1 - 1.5 arcseconds, which compares to the diameter of a coin seen at a distance of 2 km. It can track the stars with an accuracy even ten times better!

Top | Back

Contact:  (Public Relations Officer)
Last modified: 13 December 2010