World’s largest “eye on the sky” E-ELT is now all set to start its construction after getting approval from the Council of ESO’s in the recent meeting. E-ELT (European Extremely Large Telescope ) will be a 39-metre aperture optical and infrared telescope sited on Cerro Armazones in the Chilean Atacama Desert, 20 kilometres from ESO’s Very Large Telescope on Cerro Paranal.
“The decision taken by Council means that the telescope can now be built, and that major industrial construction work for the E-ELT is now funded and can proceed according to plan. There is already a lot of progress in Chile on the summit of Armazones and the next few years will be very exciting,” said Tim de Zeeuw, ESO’s Director General.
Now obliviously few questions immediately strikes in mind but ESO has generously and answered them……such as.
What are researchers hoping to find and achieve with the E-ELT?
A: The E-ELT will tackle the biggest scientific challenges of our time, and aim for a number of notable firsts, including tracking down Earth-like planets around other stars in the “habitable zones” where life could exist — one of the Holy Grails of modern observational astronomy. It will also perform ”stellar archaeology” in nearby galaxies, as well as make fundamental contributions to cosmology by measuring the properties of the first stars and galaxies and probing the nature of dark m
What are the main differences between the E-ELT and existing telescopes?
A: The European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) will have a 39-metre mirror (almost half the length of a soccer pitch) and will thus be the biggest telescope in the world — by far — to observe in the visible and the near-infrared (there are of course larger radio telescopes). In other words, it will be the world’s biggest “eye” on the sky. The current largest optical telescopes have a diameter of about 10 metres, and the E-ELT will thus be four times greater.This diameter was chosen because it is the minimum diameter needed to achieve some of the driving science cases: to image rocky exoplanets to characterise their atmospheres, and to measure the acceleration of the expansion of the Universe directly.The main principle behind the telescope is that it is an adaptive telescope. Adaptive mirrors are incorporated into the optics of the telescope to compensate for the fuzziness in the stellar images introduced by atmospheric turbulence. One of these mirrors is supported by more than 6000 actuators that can distort its shape a thousand times per second.
atter and dark energy. On top of this astronomers are also planning for the unexpected — new and unforeseeable questions will surely arise from the new discoveries made with the E-ELT. The E-ELT may, eventually, revolutionise our perception of the Universe, much as Galileo’s telescope did, 400 years ago.