Construction begins on world’s largest telescope in Chilean desert

Construction of optical telescope named The European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) began in Chile.

The telescope is going to prove one of the greatest expressions of scientific and technological capabilities and one of the extraordinary potential of global cooperation.

An artist’s illustration of the super telescope – the Extremely Large Telescope – on the Cerro Amazones in the Atacama desert in northern Chile.

“Antofagasta has the potential to be one of the scientific centres of Latin America.Chile is a country known for its sizable scientific community and for the importance of its discoveries”, the President said.

ESO is another example of what can be achieved through worldwide cooperation”, Bachelet said.

HARMONI will enable scientists to form a more detailed picture of the formation and evolution of objects in the universe.

Scientists started building this massive telescope hoping that it would help them discover more planets or stars which are usually hard to detect by smaller observing gear.

Indeed, Extremely Large Telescope will be a greatest invention of this century and it will also facilitate the scientist to research on those facts which need evidences like Aliens. “Moreover, the gap between the telescope that now ESO has and the ELT will be as big as the leap between Galileo’s naked eye and his telescope“, Tim de Zeeuw, Director General of ESO confirmed.

The ELT will have four other mirrors beyond its main mirror, which will have approximately 800 hexagonal sections, each with a diameter of 1.4 meters.

Located on a 3,000 meter-high mountain in the middle of the Atacama desert, it will become operational in 2024.

Tim de Zeeuw, ESO’s Director General, is clearly excited about the progress being made on the E-ELT. “It will be an engineering feat, and its sheer size and light grasp will dwarf all other telescopes that we have built to date”, said Thatte. The lightweight glass-ceramic material even formed part of the “first stone” ceremony, with the cover of a time capsule prepared by ESO featuring an engraved Zerodur hexagon at a one fifth-scale to one of the ELT primary mirror’s 798 individual segments. While the preparatory construction work on some of the E-ELT’s first elements commenced in early 2012, in December 2012 ESO Council fully approved the E-ELT Programme. Inside the capsule there is a copy of the book that describes ELT’s future scientific goals, as well as a poster containing photographs of all current ESO staff.

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