Mountain-Top Blasted off to Build European-Extremely Large Telescope

Mountain-Top Blasted off to Build European-Extremely Large Telescope

A mountain-top in Chile was blasted off to create the site for the world’s largest optical and infrared telescope. A million tonnes of rocks were blown up from Cerro Armazones in northern Chile to create a level surface on which the European-Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) setup has been planned.

The European Southern Observatory is building the telescope. The explosion at the top of a 3,000m high mountain took place after 1840 BST and was live streamed by the European Southern Observatory.

The construction of the telescope will begin soon. It is expected that the telescope will be ready in less than 10 years. Dr. Aprajita Verma, Deputy Project Scientist for the E-ELT's UK team at the University of Oxford said the telescope will allow astronomers to look further into space. The telescope will offer much better detail compared to currently installed facilities.

The telescope will have a primary mirror of 39 meters in diameter. It will allow gathering 15 times more light than the largest optical telescopes currently available to astronomers and researchers. The telescope will be so powerful that it will be able to detect gases in the atmospheres of certain kinds of planets present outside our solar system.

The European Southern Observatory said the telescope is expected to find more earth-like rocky planets outside our solar system. It will help researchers by providing them important clues about cosmology. The telescope will have advanced systems at the backend which will use fundamental laws of physics and dark energy to observe the interactions at the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy.

"The E-ELT will no doubt produce discoveries that we simply can't imagine today and it will surely inspire numerous people around the world to think about science, technology and our place in the universe”, affirmed ESO Director General Tim de Zeeuw.

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