World’s Largest Optical Telescope’s Construction Begins at Chile

The world’s largest optical telescope, the European Extremely Large Telescope (EELT), is being built in Chile which is emerging as the future capital of space monitoring infrastructure.

The E-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 E-ELT will be able to correct for the atmospheric distortions both adaptive and diffraction-limited images from the start, providing images 16 times sharper than those from the Hubble Space Telescope.

When completed, EELP will be the world’s largest optical telescope, five times larger than the current large space observing installations, measuring 39 meters, located on a 3,000 meter-high mountain in the middle of the Atacama desert, in Chile. The telescope is scheduled to be operating from 2024 as an integrated part of the Paranal Observatory.

The world’s largest optical telescope is expected to refine astronomers’ discoveries of planets, orbiting paths, and find more about their atmospheres, to help scientists on finding alien lives too.

“What is being raised here is more than a telescope. Here we see one of the greatest examples of the possibilities of science,” said Chilean President Michelle Bachelet opening the construction work on the world’s largest telescope. The ELT is being funded by the European Southern Observatory, an organization consisting of European and southern hemisphere nations at a cost of about $1.12 billion.

In June 2011 ESO Council approved a revised baseline design, reducing the cost significantly and reducing the risk on major items such as the secondary mirror. 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. The groundbreaking event was held in June 2014 and December 2014 ESO Council approved the construction of the E-ELT in two phases.


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