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




Related Articles
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

Recent Israeli Synagogue Attack, a Possible False Flag?
2014 11 21
Dear Friends - I woke up yesterday morning to see a newspaper lying on the kitchen table with the front page proclaiming that five people were slain in an Israeli synagogue after a so-called "Palestinian attack." Some members of the media said that four people were killed, others said five, so it seems like that there was some confusion (or ...
The Michael Brown Shooting, Race Baiting for Political Power and Militarization of the Police
2014 11 21
From Youtube: The evidence clearly shows that Officer Darren Wilson was justified in shooting Michael Brown, so why is this case being hyped by the mainstream media and the leftist political establishment?
Detekt: A New Malware Detection Tool That Can Expose Illegitimate State Surveillance
2014 11 21
Recent years have seen a boom in the adoption of surveillance technology by governments around the world, including spyware that provides its purchasers the unchecked ability to target remote Internet users’ computers, to read their personal emails, listen in on private audio calls, record keystrokes and passwords, and remotely activate their computer’s camera or microphone. EFF, together with Amnesty International, ...
New UK spy chief says tech giants aid terrorism, privacy not ‘absolute right’
2014 11 21
Robert Hannigan, the new head of GCHQ The new head of Britain’s GCHQ, the UK equivalent of the NSA in the U.S., said he believes privacy is not an absolute right and that tech giants must open themselves up to intelligence agencies. “GCHQ is happy to be part of a mature debate on privacy in the digital age,” Hannigan said. “But privacy ...
LOL: Atheist Feminist Pornographer Used as Moral Authority in T-shirt Row
2014 11 21
Dr. Matt Taylor was thrust into the headlines this last week, largely for his lead role in successfully landing a spacecraft on a comet 300 million miles from earth that travels at a speed of 85,000 mph. In short, Taylor and his colleagues pulled off one of the most amazing achievements in contemporary science and space exploration, and in a ...
More News »