Today on March 20 Google Doodle celebrates Spring Equinox 2019, a celestial event that marks as the beginning of spring in many cultures. Spring Equinox…
The Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) is an astronomical observatory and the world’s largest optical/near-infrared extremely large telescope which is under the construction. It is located on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. Originally called the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), the name of the ELT was changed in 2017. Its new name, the Extremely Large Telescope, reflects the growing number of the European Southern Observatory (ESO)’s international partners and the instrument’s location in Chile.
“The ELT will produce discoveries that we simply cannot imagine today, and it will inspire people around the world to think about science, technology and our place in the universe,” Tim de Zeeuw, ESO’s Director General, said in a statement.
Telescopes are made up of primary and secondary mirrors. Until the last few decades, these mirrors were made up of a single rigid piece of glass. The largest single-pane, or monolithic, mirrors currently in use can be found on the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT), each with a diameter of 27.5 feet (8.4 meters).
According to its official website “The ELT will be the largest optical/near-infrared telescope in the world and will gather 13 times more light than the largest optical telescopes existing today. The ELT will be able to correct for the atmospheric distortions (i.e., fully adaptive and diffraction-limited) from the start, providing images 16 times sharper than those from the Hubble Space Telescope. The ELT will vastly advance astrophysical knowledge by enabling detailed studies of planets around other stars, the first galaxies in the Universe, super-massive black holes, and the nature of the Universe’s dark sector (more)”.
“As much as we astronomers always aim for ever bigger telescopes, the core purpose of such a revolutionary project as the ELT is to find the right balance between scientific capability and cost efficiency. ESO has always managed to lead ground-based astronomy and built front-line telescopes thanks to this approach,” de Zeeuw said. “With the new ELT design we can still satisfy the bold science goals and also ensure that the construction can be completed in only 10 to 11 years. This will allow the ELT to operate simultaneously with the James Webb Space Telescope”.
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