Source: Wikimedia Commons
According to latest statement released by the European Southern Observatory, construction for world’s biggest telescope has begun on Friday in Chile.
The construction begins more than a decade after it was proposed and according to the official statement, “The telescope will be the biggest ‘eye’ ever pointed towards the sky and may revolutionize our perception of the Universe. It will tackle a wide range of scientific challenges, including probing Earth-like exoplanets for signs of life, studying the nature of dark energy and dark matter, and observing the universe’s early stages to explore our origins.”
Construction of the telescope beings with high hopes that it will help scientists to solve some of the biggest mysteries of the universe. Director General of ESO, Tim De Zeeuz said, “The ELT will produce discoveries that we simply cannot imagine today, and it will surely inspire numerous people around the world to think about science, technology and our place in the universe.”
Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet Jeria also shared the similar enthusiasm as she commented during Friday’s stone-laying ceremony, “With the symbolic start of this construction work, we are building more than a telescope here: it is one of the greatest expressions of scientific and technological capabilities and of the extraordinary potential of internationathel cooperation.”
If you were wondering about the size of the telescope, then you’ll have a better idea knowing that the ELT will feature a main mirror which will be 39 meters and the largest mirror today have a size of mere 10 meters. Apart from this, there will be four major instruments installed in the telescope including ulti-conjugate Adaptive Optics RelaY for the ELT (MAORY), Mid-infrared ELT Imager and Spectrograph (METIS), High Angular Resolution Monolithic Optical and Near-infrared Integral field spectrograph (HARMONI) and Multi-AO Imaging Camera for Deep Observations (MICADO). The telescope is expected to begin functioning in 2024.