The European Extremely Large Telescope
The world’s biggest eye on the sky
Extremely Large Telescopes are considered worldwide as one of the highest priorities in ground-based astronomy. They will vastly advance astrophysical knowledge, allowing detailed studies of subjects including planets around other stars, the first objects in the Universe, super-massive black holes, and the nature and distribution of the dark matter and dark energy which dominate the Universe.
Since the end of 2005 ESO has been working together with its user community of European astronomers and astrophysicists to define the new giant telescope needed by the middle of the next decade.
Dubbed E-ELT for European Extremely Large Telescope, this revolutionary new ground-based telescope concept will have a 39-metre main mirror and will be the largest optical/near-infrared telescope in the world: “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.
Science with the E-ELT
The E-ELT will tackle the biggest scientific challenges of our time, and aim for a number of notable firsts, including tracking down Earth-like planets around other stars in the “habitable zones” where life could exist — one of the Holy Grails of modern observational astronomy. It will also perform “stellar archaeology” in nearby galaxies, as well as make fundamental contributions to cosmology by measuring the properties of the first stars and galaxies and probing the nature of dark matter and dark energy. On top of this astronomers are also planning for the unexpected — new and unforeseeable questions will surely arise from the new discoveries made with the E-ELT.
General purpose extremely large aperture optical/infrared telescope. Some science areas are to be high redshift galaxies, star formation, exoplanets and protoplanetary systems.
Follow Cerro Armazones on this live image taken from Cerro Paranal. It is updated every hour during daytime. Click on it to enlarge.
Webcam | 09 Mar 2015 23:00 CET LIVE
More about the Extremely Large Telescope
More interesting facts are available on the FAQs page
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For Scientists: for more detailed information, please see our technical pages