Complex support cells are also necessary to ensure the flexible secondary and tertiary mirrors retain their correct shape and position; these support cells will be provided by SENER.[38]. Artist's impression of the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) in its enclosure on Cerro Armazones during night-time observations. Artist's rendering of the ELT in operation.[67]. The baseline design of the windscreen minimises the volume required to house it. This page was last edited on 21 November 2020, at 17:57. [1] It reduced projected costs from 1.275 billion to 1.055 billion euros and should allow the telescope to be finished sooner. Scientists are building a super telescope In Chile to find alien planets It's being called "the world's biggest eye on the sky. High up in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile is a complex of some of the largest telescopes in the world at the cutting edge of optical technology. The site for the ELT is only a 30-minute drive from ESO's current flagship telescope, the Very Large Telescope (which is actually four telescopes working together), perched on Cerro Paranal. [8] The first stone of the telescope was ceremonially laid on 26 May 2017, initiating the construction of the dome's main structure and telescope, with first light being planned for 2025. This is the second largest contract for the ELT construction and the third-largest contract ESO has ever signed. The surface of the 39-metre primary mirror will be composed of 798 hexagonal segments, each measuring approximately 1.4 metres across and with 50 mm thickness. The construction of the world’s largest telescope has begun. These drone visuals from Gerhard Hüdepohl show the future location of the ELT against the tranquil backdrop of the barren Chilean desert, as of September 2016. [17] Funding was subsequently included in the 2012 budget for initial work to begin in early 2012. The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) is a ground-based extremely large telescope under construction. Numerous construction workers using heavy machinery working in the Atacama Desert to flatten the top of the mountain for a platform large enough to host the ELT with its main mirror, 39.2 metres in diameter. It will be possible to switch from one instrument to another within minutes. Observations of these early galaxies with the ELT will give clues that will help understand how these objects form and evolve. [32] These sensors can measure relative positions to an accuracy of a few nanometres, the most accurate ever used in a telescope. The telescope will have several science instruments. The site was leveled by an excavation blast in March 2012. These other two telescopes roughly belong to the same next generation of optical ground-based telescopes. Additionally, two further instruments are currently being studied: One of the largest optical telescopes operating today is the Gran Telescopio Canarias, with a 10.4 m aperture and a light-collecting area of 74 m2. [12] Other sites that were under discussion included Cerro Macon, Salta, in Argentina; Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, on the Canary Islands; and sites in North Africa, Morocco, and Antarctica. Close-up of ELT primary mirror (artist's impression). One year after signing the contract, and after the laying of the first stone ceremony in May 2017, the site was handed over to ACe, signifying the beginning of the construction of the dome's main structure. [42], The AdOptica consortium,[43] partnered with INAF (Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica) as subcontractors, are responsible for the design and manufacture of the quaternary mirror, which is to be shipped to Chile by the end of 2022. [1] The observatory aims to gather 100 million times more light than the human eye, 13 times more light than the largest optical telescopes existing in 2014, and be able to correct for atmospheric distortion. From the variety of instrument concepts studied, three instruments are under construction; MICADO, HARMONI and METIS, along with the adaptive optics system MAORY. The fourth and fifth mirrors are (almost) flat, and provide adaptive optics correction for atmospheric distortions (mirror 4), and tip-tilt correction for image stabilisation (mirror 5). Chile's Giant Telescopes Join Astronomy magazine and MWT Associates, Inc., on a tour of some of the world’s premier observatories and take in the country’s breathtaking southern skies. Afterwards, Safran Reosc will then mount, test, and complete all optical testing before delivery. Such a measurement would have a major impact on our understanding of the Universe. The pre-formed glass-ceramic blank of the secondary mirror will then be polished, and tested by Safran Reosc. The ELT's adaptive optics system will provide an improvement of about a factor of 500 in the resolution, compared to the best seeing conditions achieved so far without adaptive optics. The dome is to provide needed protection to the telescope in inclement weather and during the day. The Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) is an astronomical observatory currently under construction. Chile's Giant Telescopes Join Astronomy magazine and MWT Associates, Inc., on a tour of some of the world’s premier observatories and take in the country’s breathtaking southern skies. [28] Each working day, two segments will be re-coated and replaced to ensure the mirror is always clean and highly reflective. [39][40] The mirror will be shaped and polished to a precision of 15 nanometres (15 millionths of a millimetre) over the optical surface. One was awarded to Schott AG who will manufacture the blanks of the 798 segments, as well as an additional 133 segments as part of a maintenance set, allowing for the segments to be removed, replaced and cleaned on a rotating basis once the ELT is in operation. Making the secondary mirror is a major challenge as it is highly convex, and aspheric. In January 2017,[30] ESO awarded a contract for the mirror blank to Schott AG, who will manufacture it of Zerodur. [22], A 40-metre-class mirror will allow the study of the atmospheres of extrasolar planets. The mirror will be cast from the same low-expansion ceramic Zerodur as the existing Very Large Telescope mirrors in Chile. The super telescope – called the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) – will be the largest optical telescope in the world; five times bigger and more powerful than what is available today, say scientists from the European Southern Observatory (ESO). [53] The telescope will attempt to image Earthlike exoplanets, which may be possible. "[17] The ESO Council endorsed the revised baseline design in June 2011 and expected a construction proposal for approval in December 2011. The ELT will be the largest optical/near-infrared telescope in the world, with a primary mirror stretching 39 meters. The baseline concept for the 40m-class ELT dome is a nearly hemispherical dome, rotating atop a concrete pier, with curved laterally-opening doors. Other planned extremely large telescopes include the 25 m/368 m2 Giant Magellan Telescope and 30 m/655 m2 Thirty Meter Telescope, which are also targeting the beginning of the 2020 decade for completion. Super Telescope. They will receive the mirror blanks from Schott, and polish one mirror segment per day to meet the 7-year deadline. In January 2017,[30] ESO awarded the contract for the fabrication of the 4608 edge sensors to the FAMES consortium, which is composed of Fogale[31] and Micro-Epsilon. [23] The ELT's 4.2-metre secondary mirror is the same size as the primary mirror on the William Herschel Telescope, the second largest optical telescope in Europe. The first images arrived at the mega-site in northern Chile from 12 of the 66 radio telescopes. The night sky over the construction site for the Extremely Large Telescope. Note that only natural sound is provided. Part of Cerro Armazones was blasted. This drone camera view gives an early indication of the scale of the project. [23] The ELT is the highest priority in the European planning activities for research infrastructures, such as the Astronet Science Vision and Infrastructure Roadmap and the ESFRI Roadmap. The 3.8-metre concave tertiary mirror, also cast from Zerodur, will be an unusual feature of the telescope. While discussing the work of future large telescopes with NASA's Director of Astrophysics, Paul Hertz, just before the TESS launch, he had a simple way of putting it: "size matters.". You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at, The Best Telescopes To Get Started in Stargazing, The Arecibo Telescope Is Being Demolished, 32,000 Megapixels of Fine Broccoli Action, NASA Blasting Big Balloon to the Edge of Space, James Webb Telescope Gets Hit With More Delays, Now Is the Perfect Time to Learn Astrophotography, This Is the Only Working Armillary Sphere on Earth. [1] It has the aim of observing the Universe in greater detail than the Hubble Space Telescope by taking images 15 times sharper, although it is designed to be complementary to space telescopes, which typically have very limited observing time available. [21], ESO focused on the current design after a feasibility study concluded the proposed 100 m (328 ft) diameter, Overwhelmingly Large Telescope, would cost €1.5 billion (£1 billion), and be too complex. The dome is designed to allow complete freedom to the telescope so that it can position itself whether it is opened or closed. The ELT, a project from the European Southern Observatory, promises to be the largest optical reflecting telescope in the world (meaning it's not a radio dish, but uses a mirror to collect light). This compilation features footage from a ceremony marking the first stone of the ELT. The four beams shooting skywards are lasers that create artificial stars high in the Earth's atmosphere. [15]:15, ESO's Director General commented in a 2011 press release that "With the new E-ELT design we can still satisfy the bold science goals and also ensure that the construction can be completed in only 10–11 years. Model of the gigantic and intricate structure inside the enclosure of the ELT. The protective dome is seen opening for a night observing the optical and infrared skies. At 0.03 arcseconds, the contrast is expected to be 108, sufficient to search for exoplanets. With the 2011 changes in the baseline design (such as a reduction in the size of the primary mirror from 42 m to 39.3 m), in 2017 the construction cost was estimated to be €1.15 billion (including first generation instruments). We may earn commission if you buy from a link. Diagram of the 40m-class ELT primary mirror. When completed, it is planned to be the world's largest optical/near-infrared extremely large telescope. The dome design ensures that the dome provides sufficient ventilation for the telescope not to be limited by dome seeing. ELT compared with one of the four existing VLT Unit Telescopes at Cerro Paranal, Chile. The segment support system units for the primary mirror are designed and produced by CESA (Spain)[35] and VDL (the Netherlands). How we test gear. Following first light, this telescope of extremely large size will allow astronomers to probe the earliest ages of the universe, study ancient galaxies, measure exoplanet atmospheres, and answer dozens of lingering questions in astronomy. [7] By December 2014, ESO had secured over 90% of the total funding and authorized construction of the telescope to start, which will cost around one billion euros for the first construction phase. Für Super-Teleskop wird in Chile ein Berg gesprengt. Two spherical blades, either side of the observing slit doors, slide in front of the telescope aperture to restrict the wind. The Giant Magellan Telescope will be built on Chile's Las Campanas Peak, at an altitude of about 8,500 feet (2,550 meters). It is also very large; at 4.2 metres in diameter and weighing 3.5 tonnes, it will be the largest secondary mirror ever employed on a telescope and the largest convex mirror ever produced. "ALMA - Das Super-Teleskop" zeigt, wie in der chilenischen Atacama Wüste, einem der trockensten Orte der Erde, auf knapp 5000 Metern Höhe ideale … For this the dome is also equipped with louvers, whereby the windscreen is designed to allow them to fulfill their function. The ELT will also search for possible variations in the fundamental physical constants with time. The telescope and dome will also be able to change positions on the sky and start a new observation in a very short time. In terms of astronomical performance the dome is required to be able to track about the 1-degree zenithal avoidance locus as well as preset to a new target within 5 minutes. This is a re-optimisation from the previous design, aimed at reducing the costs, and it is being revalidated to be ready for construction.[51]. The first of 798 hexagonal mirror segments that will make up the ELT, each 4.2 meters (14 feet) wide, were cast early this year. [30], The 2.4-metre quaternary mirror is a flat adaptive mirror, and only 2 millimetres thick. [1] Even with the reduction in size to 39.3 m, the ELT is significantly larger than both other planned extremely large telescopes. The ELT under ideal conditions has an angular resolution of 0.005 arcsecond which corresponds to separating two light sources 1 AU apart from 200 pc distance. The road extends from the public Route B-710 to the top of the mountain where the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) will sit.