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Etelman Observatory

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UVI Astronomers Granted Access to World’s Largest Telescopes

Astronomers from the University of the Virgin Islands were granted access to two of the world's largest telescopes located in Chile and Hawaii. The National Optical Astronomy observatory has given these astronomers a chance to participate in cutting edge work. Scientists, students and collaborators now have a better way to observe gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). GRBs are phenomena caused by exploding stars 30 to 100 times larger than our Sun. These may be the explosions of first generation stars which gives emerging astronomers a deeper understanding of the formation of the universe.

The Gemini Observatory consists of two eight meter telescopes that grant access to the entire sky from mountainous locations. These telescopes can provide nuanced information about astronomical events that can't be viewed with smaller telescopes. The UVI team has been granted access to the south Chilean and north Hawaiian telescopes.

With access to both technologies in different parts of the world, UVI researchers will be among the first to obtain and analyze GRB data as it becomes available.

The Virgin Islands Robotic Telescope (VIRT) is a smaller but faster telescope that is coming online to the Etelman Observatory. This telescopes will be able to identify GRBs minutes after they are detected by satellites.

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