View Full Version : Extremely Large Telescope Takes the Next Step

2005-Sep-07, 04:11 PM
SUMMARY: Bigger is better. When you're making a telescope, you want to construct the biggest mirror you can. The European consortium building the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) - a monster observatory with a main mirror that will be between 50-100 metres - moved a step closer to building their telescope today by releasing the scientific case. If development moves forward, the ELT could begin construction within a few years, and be complete by 2015. Where Hubble can resolve objects 95 m (311 feet) apart on the Moon, the ELT could resolve objects 2 m (6.5 feet) apart.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/extremely_large_telescope_step.html)
What do you think about this story? post your comments below.

2006-Jul-20, 11:25 AM
ESO, the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, is taking an important step towards the realisation of a new, giant telescope for Europe's astronomers, by creating the ESO Extremely Large Telescope Project Office. It will be headed by Jason Spyromilio, formerly La Silla Paranal Observatory Director.

"We believe that the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) is essential if we are to ensure the continued competitiveness of the astronomical community in ESO's member-states. This goal can be achieved in a timely manner through ESO and the community working closely together, and the establishment of the ELT project office is a significant step in this direction" - Catherine Cesarsky, ESO's Director General.

Read more (http://www.eso.org/outreach/press-rel/pr-2006/pr-25-06.html)

2006-Jul-20, 12:11 PM
Thanks Blob!

30 to 60 meters. At the low end, it will be similar in capability to several other telescopes currently planned. At the high end it will be a generation ahead of its contemporaries. In theory a 60 meter telescope could image to the depth of the Hubble Ultra Deep field in about 6 seconds for every hour Hubble spent on it, and could resolve images 25 times better than Hubble. For all this the ESA is planning to pay less than the cost of the next Hubble servicing mission.

2006-Jul-20, 03:38 PM
Where Hubble can resolve objects 95 m (311 feet) apart on the Moon, the ELT could resolve objects 2 m (6.5 feet) apart.

Would I be correct in assuming at this resolution, it could take a peek at the Apollo landing sites and at least see the descent stages?

I can only imagine what secrets this 'scope could reveal.

2006-Jul-20, 04:04 PM
Would I be correct in assuming at this resolution, it could take a peek at the Apollo landing sites and at least see the descent stages?

In theory, I suppose they could, though there may be some difficulty installing equipment that can handle as much light as the moon would be refecting. This machine is designed for looking at dim objects. BTW, if that were a goal of this telescope, it cold also probably image the shadows of these things, and the rovers and other equipment arrays when it is near dawn or dusk at those locations.

2006-Aug-05, 05:28 PM
Extremely Large Telescope could reveal secrets of life, the universe and everything (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/story/0,,1837879,00.html)

When Douglas Adams wanted the answer to life, the universe and everything, he arrived at the number 42. Now, a few decades later, astronomers have caught up, choosing that number as the diameter - in metres - of a proposed new telescope that will uncover how the universe evolved in its earliest years and could reveal whether life exists anywhere else in the cosmos.

The Extremely Large Telescope (Elt) being proposed by scientists from a consortium of European countries based at the Cerro Paranal observatory in Chile's Atacama desert will dwarf anything astronomers use today. It could be used to address mysteries such as what the first objects in the universe were, how many types of matter exist and whether there are any other Earth-like planets in our galaxy.

"There are two questions: how did the universe begin and how did life begin?" said Andreas Kaufer, director of the European Southern Observatory's (Eso) telescopes at Cerro Paranal. To answer these questions, astronomers need bigger telescopes. Last month, Eso set up an expert group to deliver a design for the Elt by the end of the year.

"We have to go for the next step that is technologically possible and that is what 42 metres seems to be," said Dr Kaufer. The telescope, which could cost up to 1bn (677m) and be located in Antarctica, would be operational within a decade.

2006-Aug-05, 05:39 PM
I prefer OWL (http://www.eso.org/projects/owl/) myself ...

2006-Aug-08, 10:24 AM
from newswires, I have read.... "European astronomers are planning to build an optical telescope that is four times bigger than any in existence.

With a main mirror around 42m-wide, the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) will allow remote objects to be studied in greater detail than ever before.

The European Southern Observatory (Eso) already operates the 8.2m Very Large Telescope (VLT) at Cerro Paranal in Chile, which has been described as a "discovery machine". "

The only downside is that construction isunlikely to start before 2010.

2006-Aug-08, 11:03 AM
Actually, the ELT was originally planned to have a 100 m mirror, but they recently had to reduce that to only 42 m due to costs. What's a pity, since a 100 m mirror would've been absolutely amazing!

But 42 m is a fantastic size too, much larger than anything already available. And last time I heard, they were planning to start building it by 2008. I hope they didn't push it further to the future :/

Here's some text from a recent BBC article (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/5252228.stm):

Back to the beginning

With a 100m telescope, astronomers may have been able to produce images of planets about the same size as Earth circling other stars. But this may be beyond the capabilities of a 42m telescope.

However, it could allow scientists to study the atmospheres of so-called extrasolar planets, looking for the spectral signatures of life such as methane gas and chlorophyll, the pigment used for photosynthesis by plants and cyanobacteria.

Eso officials say construction could begin as early as 2010-11.

But there is still no agreement over where to site the project. Large observatories like the VLT need to be located in remote, dry places with cloud-free skies for best observing conditions.

Sites under discussion include South Africa, Tibet, Morocco, Greenland and Antarctica.

So I guess it was pushed a few years foward. But as you can see, the 100 m mirrow would've been a huge leap to astronomy. I wish more countries would join the project and provide fundings.

2006-Aug-08, 12:20 PM
It was originally going to be called OWL, the Overwhelmingly Large Telescope. :razz:

Worked for me. ;)

The Chinese are doing some theoretical work on a "ringy" telescope, the primary mirror essentially a torus. It reduces the width of the stellar image which could allow direct detection of cool, close companions.

2006-Aug-08, 03:10 PM
Threads merged.