The world's largest set of opera glasses is operational.
The Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona achieved an important milestone in January when both of the telescope's 8.4-meter mirrors pointed toward the spiral galaxy NGC 2770. Last week the LBT folks released the images.
This critical step means we're not far from having another full-time telescopic giant producing incredible observations and scientific discoveries. And it poses the question: Is LBT the largest telescope in the world?
If you ask me, I say no. When the images are combined, the two LBT eyes have the light-collecting area of a single 11.8-meter mirror. And they ride on the same mount and always point in the same direction. But it still takes two separate primary mirrors and two separate optical systems to make the magic happen. The largest binoculars? Sure. The largest telescope? The purist in me still gives the title to the 10-meter Kecks. The 10.4-meter GranTeCan in the Canary Islands isn't quite up and running yet, but it should be soon. When that happens, in my book it will take the crown.
So let's start the debate. Do you think the LBT should rank as the "world's largest largest optical telescope"? If you read their press release, that's what they're calling it.
What do you think?