The first stone for the Extremely Large Telescope or ELT was laid in Chile, kicking off the world’s first super telescope’s construction. The main mirror of the super telescope will measure almost 128 feet in diameter, which gives one an idea of just how enormous the telescope would be.
Unlike any other telescopic device, the ELT will also have the ability to correct turbulence in the atmosphere while taking pictures of distant stars and planets.
The super telescope will be constructed on the top of the Cerro Armazones, which is a 10,000 feet high peak in Chile. The ceremony marking the super telescope’s construction start took place in the European Southern Observatory’s Paranal residencia, which is close to the construction site. The Chilean President Michelle Bachelet Jeria and ESO’s Director General Tim de Zeeuw attended the event.
The World’s First Super Telescope
The ESO and scientists from Oxford University are constructing the world’s first super telescope, which is the biggest telescope ever. The university’s scientists are tasked with building the ELT’s spectrograph, dubbed the HARMONI. This instrument can simultaneously capture 4,000 images, each with a somewhat different color.
HARMONI will enable researchers to get clear images from space. It will provide a detailed look at the planets in the solar system, as well as stars in the Milky Way. Scientists claim that the ELT will also be able to provide clear and concise data about celestial events that are occurring in distant galaxies and star systems.
“For me, the ELT represents a big leap forward in capability, and that means that we will use it to find many interesting things about the Universe that we have no knowledge of today,” HARMONI’s principal investigator Niranjan Thatte, remarked.
He also added that the super telescope would be used to gather data, which was presently inaccessible.
Time Capsule Used To Commemorate ELT Construction
As part of the historic construction, the ESO team created and sealed a time capsule during the ceremony. This time capsule will act as a reminder of the immense commitment and ambition driving the super telescope’s construction.
The capsule includes a book that describes the scientific aims behind building the super telescope, pictures of the team members that played or would play a part in the construction efforts, and finally a visual representation of how the finished ELT would look.
“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,” ESO’s de Zeeuw noted.
The super telescope’s construction is expected to wrap up by 2024.