BEACON TRANSCRIPT – On May 26th, the European Southern Observatory started the construction of the Extremely Large Telescope, the biggest infrared telescope ever built. The device will be five times larger than any other existing instruments, and will contribute to scientific developments in the field of astronomy by helping researchers make more detailed observations of cosmic objects.
The biggest telescope ever built
Scientists started building this massive telescope hoping that it would help them discover more planets or stars which are usually hard to detect by smaller observing gear. The main mirror of the ELT will measure 39 meters in diameter. Besides offering images of much smaller planets, it will be able to gather enough light to allow the view of darker or more distant objects.
The telescope will hope scientists to gather other valuable information. Apart from capturing images of planets, it will help with analyzing the composition of their atmosphere and surface. Therefore, researchers will be able to find if the planet in question has all the necessary conditions to support life.
ELT will help researchers achieve the biggest astronomical challenges
ESO revealed that the telescope wants to take up the main astronomical challenges, such as searching the habitable zone of stars for planets with perfect conditions for life.
“The ELT will tackle the biggest scientific challenges of our time, and aim for a number of notable firsts.”
The existent telescopes are able to spot only big exoplanets, around the size of Jupiter and Saturn. This is why the construction of such an advanced observational tool is a huge achievement. Besides, the magnification of the ELT will identify the accurate position of these exoplanets.
ELT will be installed at an altitude of 3,000 meters, on a mountain in the Atacama Desert. Scientists hope it will be functional by 2024, and that they would soon start using it.
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