European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) shall sport a primary mirror with a diameter of 39 meters thus allowing it to collect light that is 15 times greater than the largest telescope can gather as of now. The project has been given a go ahead and is slated to be completed by 2024.
Back in June in Chilean desert, a mountain tip was cleared to allow for site clearance. Tim de Zeeuw, (European Southern Observatory) ESO’s Director General, said, “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.”
E-ELT shall have a dome about the size of a stadium while allowing for a sensitivity that is more than 10 times greater than current telescopes when it comes to visible and infrared light. The telescope has been designed to allow astronauts to look back into the galaxies from 14 billion years ago and let them understand dark energy and dark matter, eventually allowing them to explain how the universe evolved.
European backers for the project are waiting for Brazil to commit to the funding, which is crucial for it to become completely operational. According to ESO’s report this week, “It became clear by mid-2014 that the ongoing day-to-day delay was posing an increasing risk to the project and to the scientific aspirations of the ESO community.” ESO has thus divided the project in two phases while giving green light to phase 1 that will see $1.2 billion spent and doesn’t require funding from Brazil to continue. The second phase is dependent on Brazil’s commitment.
This telescope is one of the three competing for the world’s largest telescope title. The other two are the Giant Magellan Telescope and the Thirty Meter Telescope. These telescopes aim at helping humans in a number of issues; life-threatening asteroids, finding habitable planets and unraveling the mysteries of space. Do you think we are spending money in the right direction? Check out the video below for more details: