The European Southern Observatory (ESO) has decided to build a massive space telescope on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. This will be the largest telescope on the planet, sporting a 39 meter wide mirror that will capturing both visible and infrared wavelengths of light.
“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.
One billion euros have already been earmarked for this massive project, which is expected to cover about 90% of the total cost.
“The funds that are now committed will allow the construction of a fully working E-ELT that will be the most powerful of all the extremely large telescope projects currently planned, with superior light collecting area and instrumentation. It will allow the initial characterisation of Earth-mass exoplanets, the study of the resolved stellar populations in nearby galaxies as well as ultra-sensitive observations of the deep Universe,” concludes Tim de Zeeuw.