The Telescopes of the Isaac Newton
THERE ARE THREE telescopes in
the Isaac Newton Group :
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.
m William Herschel Telescope (WHT)
m Isaac Newton Telescope (INT)
m Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope (JKT)
The three telescopes have
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!
|- 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.
|- 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].
|- 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].