Liquid mirror telescope in Devasthal sees first light

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Liquid mirror telescope in Devasthal sees first light

  • The four-meter International Liquid Mirror Telescope (ILMT) saw the first light recently, gazing out from its vantage on Devasthal, a hill in Uttarakhand, into the deep sky.

Why is it useful?

  • To make sky surveys possible
  • Obtain images that can help observe transient phenomena
    • Eg: supernova
  • Record the presence of space debris or meteorites.

About ILMT Telescope:

  • collaboration: Canada, Belgium and India.
  • Location: Altitude of 2,450 meters on the Devasthal Observatory campus of the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) in Nainital district, an autonomous institute under the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.
  • A large pool of mercury placed in a vessel is spun around so fast that it curves into a parabolic shape.
  • Since mercury is reflective, this shape helps in focusing the reflected light. A thin sheet of mylar protects the mercury from the wind.
  • The first image made by the telescope consisted of several stars and a galaxy, NGC 4274, which is 45 million light years away.


  • Having a primary mirror that is liquid, cannot be turned and pointed in any direction.
  • Watch the sky as the earth rotates, thereby giving a view of different objects.
  • This property can be used to observe transients and moving objects such as meteorites.
  • Work with the existing 3.6-metre Devasthal Optical Telescope.
  • Collected data will need to be analyzed using artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI and ML) tools.

Prelims takeaway

  • ILMT
  • Location Based Question
  • Space Debris oe Meteorites
  • Devasthal Optical Telescope