Fundación Galileo Galilei - INAF Telescopio Nazionale Galileo 28°45'14.4N 17°53'20.6W 2387.2m A.S.L.

Celebrating the first light of the TNG, 25 years later

Last Friday, 9th of June, the staff of the TNG went to the telescope to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first light.

From the archived documents we can read the following notes. “The very first image has been taken during the night of the 9-10 June 98; it shows the Epsylon-Lyrae1 binary system in the B band with 10 sec of exposure (Fig. 1). The separation between the two stars is of 2.6 arcsec and this value is in good match with the theoretical telescope scale. [...] The stars FWHM measured in the frame is 0.8 arcsec.”

TNG staff

Figure 1. The very first picture taken at TNG.

“The first image of the telescope was taken through a spare camera mounted at the F/11 focal plane of the Nasmyth B (Fig. 2). There was no derotator, we got an image of a double star to assess the pointing, the focus position and the focal length - says Adriano Ghedina, Director of the TNG - Not much of a celebration at that moment, there still were too many things to tune or solve before being satisfied with the work done.
Soon after that we got some intra- and extra-focal images to measure and confirm the superb optical quality of the TNG."

Nasmyth B

Figure 2. The camera mounted in Nasmyth B.

After a visit to the ORM Visitors Center, the staff proceeded to the bridge of the TNG where they took a celebrative photograph and then they had lunch at the Chipi Chipi Restaurant.

"Only a few people of the original staff that was working for the TNG at the time of our first light still remain working at the telescope.” Many more joined after the commissioning and still work with us.
We have gone together through many challenges and changes, and the dedication and affection for the telescope is a great glue to keep going on and to maintain our telescope at the forefront of astronomical research. The TNG is the biggest Italian telescope that keeps pushing hard thanks to the invaluable work of our staff."

TNG staff

Most of the staff of the TNG in front of the telescope.

Staff present at the first light

Original staff that was working for TNG at the time of our first light: C. Riverol, A. Ghedina, R. Cosentino, M. Martín Pérez, L. Riverol, A. Galli.

Part of the TNG staff at the visiting center

A relaxed moment at the visitor center.