Large Zenith Telescope

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Large Zenith Telescope
180724main 6-mMirror.jpg
The Large Zenith Telescope. Notice the Size compared to the lady in the back.
Location(s) British Columbia, Canada Edit this at Wikidata
Coordinates 49°17′17″N 122°34′23″W / 49.2881°N 122.573°W / 49.2881; -122.573Coordinates: 49°17′17″N 122°34′23″W / 49.2881°N 122.573°W / 49.2881; -122.573 Edit this at Wikidata
Altitude 395 m (1,296 ft) Edit this at Wikidata
Built –2003 Edit this on Wikidata (–2003 Edit this on Wikidata) Edit this at Wikidata
Telescope style Liquid mirror telescope
Optical telescope
Zenith telescope Edit this on Wikidata
Diameter 6 m (19 ft 8 in) Edit this at Wikidata
Website Edit this at Wikidata
Large Zenith Telescope is located in Canada
Large Zenith Telescope
Location of Large Zenith Telescope

The Large Zenith Telescope (LZT) was a 6.0 m diameter liquid mirror telescope located in the University of British Columbia's Malcolm Knapp Research Forest, about 70 km (43 mi) east of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (North of Maple Ridge.) It is one of the largest optical telescopes in the world, but still quite inexpensive. The telescope was completed in the spring of 2003.

While a zenith telescope has the obvious disadvantage of not being able to look anywhere but at a small spot straight up, its simplified setup permits the use of a mirror consisting of a smoothly spinning pan filled with liquid mercury. Such a mirror can be made much larger than a conventional mirror, greatly increasing light collecting ability. The LZT is used for transit imaging, meaning that earth's rotation moves stars along the sensor, and the latent image in the sensor is moved electronically in step with this movement and read out at the trailing edge.

The telescope made use of parts from the three-meter diameter NASA Orbital Debris Observatory telescope, which had been using a liquid mercury mirror for several years.

The Large Zenith Telescope is now decommissioned,[1] and all the liquid mercury is now stored for other projects[citation needed].

This mirror was a test, built for $1 million but it was not suitable for astronomy because of the test site's weather. They are now planning to build a larger 8 meter liquid mirror telescope ALPACA for astronomical use at an estimated first light cost of $5 million, $3 million contingency, $10 million for the camera, $5 million for a spectograph, $0.3 million operating costs per year.[2] and a larger project called LAMA with 66 individual 6.15 meter telescopes with a total collecting power equal to a 55-meter telescope, resolving power of a 70-meter scope.[3][4]

See also[edit]

Comparison of nominal sizes of primary mirrors of the Large Zenith Telescope and some notable optical telescopes.


  1. ^ Physics Footnotes: Liquid Mirror Telescopes
  2. ^ ALPACA overview
  3. ^ Hickson, P. and Lanzetta, K.M., 2004, July. Large aperture mirror array (LAMA): project overview. In Second Backaskog Workshop on Extremely Large Telescopes (Vol. 5382, pp. 115-126). International Society for Optics and Photonics
  4. ^ The University of British-Columbia Liquid-Mirror Observatory - Perfecting the next generation of super telescopes