An impression of the E-ELT observatory operating under Chile’s pristine skies. Credit: ESO

 

UK funding boost for world’s biggest optical telescope

By Paul Sutherland 04 March 2013

(Sen) - Plans to build a monster telescope that will become the world’s largest optical instrument have received a huge funding boost.

The British government has pledged an £88 million investment in the project that will allow UK scientists and industry to play a major role in construction and use of the telescope in Chile.

The observatory, known as the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), promises to revolutionise many areas of astronomy because of its unrivalled power. It is planned to have it completed by 2023 at a cost in today’s money of 1.1 billion euros.

This new eye on the sky will use an innovative five-mirror design to collect 15 times more light than the largest optical telescopes currently operating anywhere in the world.

Its primary 39.3-metre wide mirror, made up of 798 hexagonal segments, will gather more light than all the 23 major optical research telescopes greater than 4 metres in diameter added together.

Read more: UK funding boost for world's biggest optical telescope — Sen.

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