June 5, 2016

Back with a Bang

Quick, get a drink and some popcorn! In less than an hour, at 4:30 UTC, you can watch the ESO blow up a Chilean mountaintop to make room for the E-ELT, the extremely large telescope.


The telescope's "eye" will be 39.3 meters in diameter and will gather 15 times more light than the largest optical telescopes operating at the time of its development.

The E-ELT will search for extrasolar planets — planets orbiting other stars. This will include not only the discovery of planets down to Earth-like masses through indirect measurements of the wobbling motion of stars perturbed by the planets that orbit them, but also the direct imaging of larger planets and possibly even the characterisation of their atmospheres.

Furthermore, the E-ELT's suite of instruments will allow astronomers to probe the earliest stages of the formation of planetary systems and to detect water and organic molecules in protoplanetary discs around stars in the making.

The E-ELT will also be making detailed studies of the first galaxies and to follow their evolution through cosmic time. Observations of these early galaxies with the E-ELT will give clues that will help understand how these objects form and evolve.


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