The Nazionale Galileo Telescope

Das italienische Teleskop Nazionale Galileo (TNG) befindet sich am Observatorium auf dem Roque de los Muchachos, La Palma. Mit einem Primärspiegel von 3,58 Metern im Durchmesser ist die wichtigste Installation der italienischen astronomischen Gemeinschaft im Bereich des sichtbaren / Infrarot.

Das TNG ist mit 3 Instrumenten ausgestattet, die permanent in seinen Brennpunkten installiert sind und bietet eine Vielzahl von Beobachtungsmodi, die das optische und Nah-Infrarot-Spektrum abdecken und Weitfeldbilder bis hin zur hochauflösenden Spektroskopie anbieten.

Its most relevant instrument is the HARPS-N “High Precision Radial Speed ​​Planter in the Northern Hemisphere. It is one of the most accurate spectrographs in the world that has the main objective of discovering and characterizing extrasolar planets the size of the Earth (Echelle spectrometer at 383-633 nm wavelengths and with spectral resolution of R = 115000). In practice HARPS-N measures the slight oscillation of the star caused by the presence of the planet (in m/s) with which it can estimate the mass of the exoplanets, their chemical composition and distance to the star.

 

The Nazionale Galileo Telescope (TNG). Photo by Giovanni Tessicini (TNG)
The Nazionale Galileo Telescope (TNG). Photo by Giovanni Tessicini (TNG)

History

The agreements for the construction of the telescope in La Palma were signed in 1979 and the telescope The telescope saw its “first light” in 1998. Until June 2004, the telescope was operated by the Galileo Galilei Genter, created in 1997 by the Consorzio Nazionale per l’Astronomia e l’Astrofisica (CNAA). From  July 27, 2004, the new Galileo Galilei Foundation, funded by the National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF), is responsible for the management of the TNG.

Results
The TNG is currently looking mainly for exoplanets, a very relevant field in astrophysics at the moment. The first exoplanet discovered by the TNG was the Kepler 78 b, a planet similar to Earth in size and mass but much hotter, surface temperature can reach 5,000 degrees. Another exoplanet also in the news, and found by the TNG (published May 2017), belongs to the star GJ625 (Gliese 625), a red dwarf close to the Sun, is in the area of ​​habitability, which means that could host lifetime. The Kepler 78b and the planet of GJ625 are some of the more than 1,000 already discovered exoplanets (Earth-like planets).

Curiosities
In February 2013, an international team, led by Spanish astrophysicists, characterized the 2012 asteroid DA14 using the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) and the Galileo Nazionale Telescope at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory in La Palma. They were able to measure the maximum approach to Earth.

Kepler 78b: the first planet discovered by HARPS-N in the TNG.
Kepler 78b: the first planet discovered by HARPS-N in the TNG.

In the TNG, all the rooms are kept at a certain temperature, which varies depending on the room.. The telescope should be half a degree below the minimum outside temperature recorded the previous night to minimize the airflow around the telescope and avoid turbulence that greatly reduces the image quality caused by the temperature gradient when opening the telescope.

The second building, dome of the telescope is a structure of an approximate height of 26 m. And occupies an area of ​​about 400 m2. The building is entirely made of metal structure, with a fixed first floor, while the other 3 can rotate around the vertical axis of the building, in solidarity, in synchrony with the rotation of the telescope.

Kepler 78b: the first planet discovered by HARPS-N in the TNG.
Kepler 78b: the first planet discovered by HARPS-N in the TNG.

In the TNG, all the rooms are kept at a certain temperature, which varies depending on the room.. The telescope should be half a degree below the minimum outside temperature recorded the previous night to minimize the airflow around the telescope and avoid turbulence that greatly reduces the image quality caused by the temperature gradient when opening the telescope.

The second building, dome of the telescope is a structure of an approximate height of 26 m. And occupies an area of ​​about 400 m2. The building is entirely made of metal structure, with a fixed first floor, while the other 3 can rotate around the vertical axis of the building, in solidarity, in synchrony with the rotation of the telescope.

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