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how they work
VLT array
The four main units of the VLT are huge, reflecting telescopes. Their 8.2m mirrors are 17cm thick and weigh 20 tonnes. "Active optics" is used to enhance the image quality. 150 tiny computer-controlled actuators sit underneath each mirror, applying small forces to keep the curved reflecting surface in the optimum shape. This reduces blurring and gives a near-perfect picture.
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