World’s largest optical telescope laid in Chile

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Scientists are a step closer to understanding the inner-workings of the universe by using the world’s largest optical and infrared telescope. The first stone for the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) is laid in Chile.

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.

Largest optical telescope

The ESO and Oxford University scientists are constructing the world’s first super telescope. The university’s scientists are tasked with building the ELT’s spectrograph, dubbed the HARMONI. This instrument can capture 4,000 images, each with a somewhat different color.

Researchers will get clear images from space by HARMONI. It will provide a detailed look at the planets in the solar system.

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.

Niranjan Thatte, Professor of Astrophysics at Oxford’s Department of Physics, said, 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.

Thatte said, the element of exploring the unknown that most excites me about the ELT. It will be an engineering feat, and its sheer size and light grasp will dwarf all other telescopes that we have built to date.

A time capsule, created by ESO members, will serve as a lasting memory of the research and the scale of ambition and commitment behind it.

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The cover of the time capsule is engraved with a hexagon made of Zerodur, a one-fifth scale model of one of the ELT’s primary mirror segments.

Tim DE Zeeuw, Director General of ESO, said, 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.

The ELT is set for completion in 2024, and as the visualized images show, it is going to be out of this world.