A lover of the arts, Valerie Varnuska of Westbury, NY, enjoys opera, dance, and musical performances. Valerie Varnuska has a wide variety of other interests as well, including hiking, nature, cooking, science, and astronomy.
New technology is always under development for a better understanding of the astronomical universe. Engineers are currently using small-scale telescope models to conduct tests for a new Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) belonging to the European Southern Observatory (ESO). The enormous telescope is scheduled for entry into space in 2024 and will use a 39-foot primary mirror composed of 798 individual hexagonal mirrored pieces to scan the universe and transmit data back to earth.
Small-scale models of the ELT are being tested in wind-tunnels at Chile’s Atacama Desert and at Milan’s Polytechnic University. The test models are made of plastic reinforced with glass fibers and are equipped with numerous sensors that provide information on the amount of structural load they can withstand.