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28 July 2008 The Very Large Telescope Interferometer: an update
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The ESO Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) offers access to the four 8 m Unit Telescopes (UT) and the four 1.8 m Auxiliary Telescopes (AT) of the Paranal Observatory located in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. The fourth AT has been delivered to operation in December 2006, increasing the flexibility and simultaneous baselines access of the VLTI. Regular science operations are now carried on with the two VLTI instruments, AMBER and MIDI. The FINITO fringe tracker is now used for both visitor and service observations with ATs and will be offered on UTs in October 2008, bringing thus the fringe tracking facility to VLTI instruments. In parallel to science observations, technical periods are also dedicated to the characterization of the VLTI environment, upgrades of the existing systems, and development of new facilities. We will describe the current status of the VLTI and prospects on future evolution.
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