Location chosen for European "Extremely Large Telescope"
2010 04 27
By Jonathan Amos | BBCNews.co.uk
Europe has chosen the place it wants to build the world’s biggest telescope.
The observatory will be constructed on Cerro Armazones, a 3,000m-high mountain in Chile’s Atacama Desert.
The E-ELT (European Extremely Large Telescope) will have a primary mirror 42m in diameter - about five times the width of today’s best telescopes.
Astronomers say the next-generation observatory will be so powerful it will be able to image directly rocky planets beyond our Solar System.
It should also be able to provide major insights into the nature of black holes, galaxy formation, the mysterious "dark matter" that pervades the Universe, and the even more mysterious "dark energy" which appears to be pushing the cosmos apart at an accelerating rate.
Final go-ahead for the E-ELT is expected at the end of this year.
The European Southern Observatory (Eso) organisation which is managing the project says it hopes the telescope can be operational by 2018.
The estimated cost is in the region of a billion euros.
The decision on the E-ELT site was taken by the ESO Council after several years of study at competing locations that included other places in Chile, and in the Canary Islands, Spain.
The 5,500-tonne behemoth could be operating by 2018.
Cerro Armazones is just 20km from Cerro Paranal, where Eso operates its Very Large Telescope facility - a suite of interconnected telescopes that includes four units with primary mirrors measuring 8.2m.
Video from: YouTube.com
Like Paranal, Armazones will enjoy near-perfect observing conditions - at least 320 nights a year when the sky is cloudless. The Atacama’s famous aridity means the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere is very limited, reducing further the perturbation starlight experiences as it passes through the Earth’s atmosphere.
Coming up with a workable design has been a challenge. It is impossible to make a monolithic mirror on such a scale and so the primary reflecting surface will be composed of 984 hexagonal segments, each 1.45m in size.
The E-ELT will thus be able to gather 15 times more light than the largest optical telescopes operating today. It will also provide images 15 times sharper than those from the Hubble Space Telescope.
The huge telescope is one of the major projects listed on a roadmap of research infrastructures that Europe feels it needs to fulfil its scientific goals over the next 20 years.
Other facilities range from high-powered laser systems through to a plan to construct the world’s most advanced polar ice-breaker.
Article from: news.bbc.co.uk
Spacewalking Astronauts Seen With a Backyard Telescope (Video)
MIT To Lead Development Of New Telescopes On Moon
What space telescopes of tomorrow will see
Latest News from our Front Page
Your Smartphone Broadcasts Your Entire Life To The Secret Service
2014 09 23
Intelligence services collect metadata on the communication of all citizens. Politicians would have us believe that this data doesn’t say all that much. A reader of De Correspondent put this to the test and demonstrated otherwise: metadata reveals a lot more about your life than you think.
Ton Siedsma is nervous. He made the decision weeks ago, but keeps postponing it. ...
Scots were tricked into voting ‘No’ – Salmond
2014 09 23
London politicians gulled Scottish voters out of independence by making a false “vow” to grant Glasgow extra powers, First Minister Alex Salmond has said. He also raised the prospect of another referendum, saying the break-up is inevitable.
Alex Salmond, leader of the ’Yes’ campaign and the outgoing head of the Scottish National Party (SNP), told the BBC’s Sunday Politics program that ...
The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola
2014 09 23
The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.
Suspected Ebola patient Finda “Zanabo” prays over her sick family members before being admitted to the Doctors Without Borders Ebola treatment center on Aug. 21, 2014, near Monrovia, Liberia. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images
As the Ebola epidemic in West Africa has spiraled out of control, affecting thousands of Liberians, Sierra Leonians, and Guineans, ...
Man bitten by Ebola patient flown to Switzerland
2014 09 22
Swiss authorities say a male nurse who was bitten by an Ebola patient while working in West Africa has been flown to Switzerland as a precaution.
The health ministry says the unidentified man was working for an international organization in Sierra Leone when he was bitten by a child infected with Ebola on Saturday.
The ministry says the nurse was wearing protective ...
Climate March in New York City Reveals Communists Demanding ’Revolution, Nothing Less’ - Trash the City With Garbage
2014 09 22
Tens-of-thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of New York City Sunday to demand political leaders take action on climate change.
While the protest remained peaceful, much of the “People’s Climate March” appeared to be made up of fringe elements of the political left.
Dozens of signs denouncing capitalism were spotted at the demonstration, often held by self-proclaimed socialists.
“Capitalism is destroying the ...
|More News » |