Extremely Large Telescope

3D rendering of a large telescope pointed towards the sky. The desert sunset is reflected on the large metal doors - opened to reveal the primary mirror.

18 August 2014


The European Southern Observatory is building a really, really big telescope, so big that its official name is “European Extremely Large Telescope” (I guess “really, really big telescope” was already taken).To give you an idea of just how large it is, the aperture of the telescope could fit 8 giraffes, head to toe, or, if you prefer, 400 mars bars. What do we need such a big telescope for? Well, one of the aims of the EELT is to look for Earth-like planets in the habitable zones of the universe. This means that it will be looking for aliens! This would be a ground-breaking discovery not only for science but for the whole of humanity. It will also tell us more about dark energy and dark matter, and be able to look at the edges of the universe, towards regions that we have never seen before.

A team of more than 100 astronomers is working on the project, and it will take ten years to build, so until then the king of the telescopes is the still the Thirty Meter Telescope (with an aperture of a mere 6 giraffes).

More info: http://www.eso.org/public/

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