The Very Large Telescope (VLT) consists of four, 8.2-metre, optical/infrared telescopes owned by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) and located at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. It is one of the world's most productive astronomical facilities, providing many research 'firsts'. The telescopes are equipped with a suite of instruments, including large-field CCD imagers, multi-object spectrographs and high resolution spectrometers, allowing observations in a broad spectral region, from deep ultraviolet to mid-infrared wavelengths. The telescopes have been designed with unprecedented optical and infrared capabilities in order to produce images of the faintest and most remote objects in the Universe.
The VLT can operate in coordination with four movable 1.8m diameter Auxiliary Telescopes to form a giant interferometer, the Very Large Telescope Interferometer, allowing astronomers to see details up to 25 times finer than with the individual telescopes. The UK community has access to the faclility via ESO membership and STFC is supported the construction of the KMOS instrument for the VLT.