edit: The short form of the question is Why are there TWO telescopes?? A longer version follows.

The Large Binocular Telescope (and LBT blog as source of images below) has two 8.4 meter diameter mirrors, allowing for the possibility of interference in one dimension.

I'm aware that a single baseline, two-element stellar interferometer can be used to measure the separation between a pair of stars by looking at the Fourier transform of the intensity vs time of the interference. A single frequency peak is produced by one star, but if there are two close together, there will be "beating" in the time series that shows up as two peaks in the FT.

But I'm wondering if the LBT was designed and built with a plan to do more than that. Just for example, did plans include an ability to use interferometry to help reconstruct 2D images, or enhance the resolution beyond that which is already provided by the adaptive optics used in each half separately? Were there other plans or justifications?

Possibly helpful; Current Status of the Facility Instrumentation Suite at The Large Binocular Telescope Observatory

Open image in new window for full size:

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Great question. This is something that I, too, would like to know. I expect that it involves multiple exposures, and a good deal of computer processing to extract the maximum amount of information from a rotating field of view. I suspect, also, that the dark arcs that the planets are embedded in are artefacts of the image processing algorithms. $\endgroup$ – Mick Dec 25 '17 at 13:37
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    $\begingroup$ Due to technical problems, the LBT until very recently (beginning 2016), couldn't use their two mirrors in interferometric mode. Thus all images you see and quote from before that period have been taken with single mirror exposures. $\endgroup$ – AtmosphericPrisonEscape Dec 25 '17 at 23:04
  • $\begingroup$ @AtmosphericPrisonEscape thanks for that! I've revised the question accordingly. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Dec 26 '17 at 1:45
  • $\begingroup$ @uhoh: Then I think the answer is 'not at all, until recently...' $\endgroup$ – AtmosphericPrisonEscape Dec 26 '17 at 23:31
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh: Well I know my answer, but I'm too lazy to look up all the references you'd be interested in. So go ahead. $\endgroup$ – AtmosphericPrisonEscape Jan 14 '18 at 11:45

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