Michael Skrutskie (Virginia)
While the world awaits the construction of the Giant Magellan Telescope, Thirty Meter Telescope, and the European Extremely Large Telescope, the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) at Mt. Graham, Arizona represents the first operating version of an “Extremely Large Telescope”. The LBT consists of two 8.4-meter primary mirrors on a single alt-azimuth mount separated, center to center, by 14.4-meters creating an aperture that is nearly 23 meters in extent in one dimension. The University of Arizona’s Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer (LBTI) coherently combines the light from the two primary mirrors enabling diffraction-limited imaging at a resolution set (on one axis) by the full extent of the 23-meter aperture. In the infrared L’-band (3.7 um) this diffraction limit is ~30 milliarcseconds. In addition to describing these capabilities from an instrumentation perspective I will highlight scientific applications ranging from high-contrast exoplanetary observations to resolved mapping of the distribution and evolution of hotspots on Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io.