World’s Biggest Telescope Gets Long-Awaited Green Light
Four centuries have passed since the invention of the telescope, and in that time telescopes have gotten bigger and bigger–the better to peer into deep space.
Now the green light has been given for construction to begin on what is projected to be the world’s biggest telescope, the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT).
The announcement was made Dec. 4 by the European Southern Observatory, the multinational organization that’s behind the project. Construction of the telescope is expected to cost 1.083 billion euros, or $1.34 billion (at 2012 prices), with operations to begin in 2024, Space.com reported.
An optical and infrared telescope, the E-ELT will feature a gargantuan 39-meter aperture that will make the scope the “biggest eye on the sky” and give it unparalleled capabilities, according to the ESO. It is to be built atop Cerro Armazones, a 3,000-meter (10,000-foot) mountain in Chile’s Atacama Desert. The desert is one of the driest regions on Earth and is considered one of the best places from which to observe the sky.