In 1962, 16 European nations banded together to cooperate in making astronomical observations from below the equator through the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, known in short as the European Southern Observatory (ESO). At present they have at their disposal a series of powerful Very Large Telescope (VLT) optical arrays to watch the distant sky with. Perhaps the funny thing about the ESO VLT setup is that, due to being necessarily located in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s not in Europe at all but in northern Chile, South America. That poses many complications for casual scientific tourists who want to see it. As if understanding the potential frustration of visitors who want to see the VLT array, the ESO has decided to do the next best thing and had these Very Large Telescopes (VLT) recreated in LEGO. Surely, what better material to use for this project than good old LEGO bricks?
With the help of LEGO expert builder Frans Snik and his team and input from the ESO, these Very Large Telescopes (VLT) recreated in LEGO, ended up being a magnificent reproduction of the four VLT observatories in Chile’s Atacama Desert, each with their 27-feet diameter reflecting telescopes, and reduced them into accurate 1:150 scale versions. The whole setup used 3,104 pieces total, all utilized extremely well.
Those who would like to see the LEGO VLT array can find it on exhibit at the headquarters of the European Southern Observatory in Garching, Germany. Though viewing times is restricted, as access can only be had during the ESO’s open days schedule, or if a visitor is a guest of an ESO astronomer.
Once they’ve gotten a look at the brick-built VLT, LEGO enthusiasts can also request a copy of this MOC’s building instruction and parts list, though the ESO also offers a bit of a warning. Frans Snik spent €500 in LEGO pieces used for the project, so this LEGO building project can really be heavy on the wallet.