The world’s largest telescope is now set to be built in Chile, now that the project has received the green light from the European Southern Observatory’s Council. The ESOC was awaiting the final stages of funding before giving the project the “go ahead” even though parts of the project had been previously approved. This telescope will give unprecedented images, and will have a fitting name – being called the European Extremely Large Telescope or E-ELT for short.
The massive telescope that will be built in Chile, will feature a primary mirror of 39 meters in diameter, which means the telescope will soak up 15 times more light than the current-largest optical telescope that’s functional right now. Altogether, roughly $1.2 billion was required in funding to reach this point, which they did comfortably after Poland was locked in as a partial funder of the project.
The project received its first approval in 2021 when they reached 90% of the funding they needed to get to the next phase. They broke the project up into phases to ultimately make it more economically feasible since millions of dollars were required to make the project a reality. Tim de Zeeuw, the director general of the European Southern Observatory noted that “Major industrial construction work for the E-ELT is now funded and can proceed according to plan,” when talking about the project and what the most-recent “go ahead” meant for the project as a whole.
This telescope, which is the largest and most-powerful of any current, or planned telescope in the world – will give scientists the ability to evaluate and characterize exoplanets that are approximately the size of Earth, and even study start populations that exist in galaxies near the Milky Way.
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