Weather balloons on Paranal in support of the ELT

A probe was launched last Friday (13 November 2009) from ESO’s Paranal observatory in northern Chile — home of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) — aboard a weather balloon. Such probes, called radiosondes, measure various atmospheric parameters and transmit them to a receiver on the ground. Researchers from ESO, the University of Lethbridge (Canada) and Universidad de Valparaiso (Chile) are currently in the middle of a 12-day programme, during which they plan to launch 29 radiosondes. Each night, parallel observations with the VLT instruments UVES, CRIRES and VISIR are carefully orchestrated to coincide with two additional radiosonde launches, while an infrared radiometer provides continuous coverage. This powerful combination of instruments and methods will provide a better understanding of the distribution and amount of water vapour in the atmosphere above Paranal, which is highly relevant for astronomical observations. The knowledge gained from these data can be used to optimise science operations at the VLT and, in the future, at the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT).

The team members are: Arlette Chacón, Lissette Cortes, and Lizett Illanes (Universidad de Valparaiso), Richard Querel and Greg Tompkins (University of Lethbridge), and Gerardo Avila, Gordon Gillet, Carlos Guirao, Reinhard Hanuschik, Florian Kerber, Gaspare LoCurto, Marc Sarazin, Alain Smette (ESO), Michel Cure (U Valparaiso) and David Naylor (U Lethbridge).


ESO/G. Gillet

About the Image

Release date:3 December 2009, 23:18
Size:1728 x 2624 px

About the Object

Type:Unspecified : Technology : Observatory : Detector

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