Massive telescope gets green light

2012-06-12 09:32
A plan to build an optical telescope much bigger than Salt has cleared an important hurdle. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

A plan to build an optical telescope much bigger than Salt has cleared an important hurdle. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Paris - A plan to build the biggest land-based optical telescope in the world has cleared an important hurdle, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) announced.

Two-thirds of ESO's governing council gave full or provisional approval for the so-called European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), which opens the way to starting work on the project, it said in a press release.

The €1.083bn ($1.35bn) scheme entails building a telescope with a massive light-catching mirror 39.3m wide, several times the size of the biggest optical telescopes today.

It will be sited on Cerro Armazones in northern Chile, close to ESO's existing Paranal Observatory, where the extremely arid conditions and high altitude offer excellent viewing of the skies.

"This is an excellent outcome and a great day for ESO. We can now move forward on schedule with this giant project," ESO's director general, Tim de Zeeuw, was quoted as saying after the council meeting in Garching, Germany.

International venture


If all goes well, the E-ELT would start operations about a decade from now, becoming one of the great astronomical assets of the 21st century alongside a planned radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) set to be built in South Africa and Australia.

"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," ESO said.

ESO, which marks its 50th anniversary, is Europe's biggest international venture in astronomy.

In Monday's vote, six out of 10 countries gave firm approval and four gave "ad referendum" approval, meaning that they needed an official green light from their governments.

Four other countries said they supported the scheme and were "actively working towards joining the programme in the near future," ESO said.

Work on building the E-ELT will start once the "ad referendum" votes are made official and financial commitments are secured for at least 90% of the total cost.
 

Read more on:    ska  |  astronomy
NEXT ON NEWS24X

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Autobraking: See just how good they are!

Just how good are automatic brakes on cars these days? Two VW models have been praised by top UK research centre Thatcham. Find out why...

 

Stay safe

Pro's and con's of accredited driver-training
Juvenile pillion riders? Play safe...
Need a family ride? SA's top Mommy Cars
Mom's driving-school dream come true

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

New Business Developer

Western Cape
Trinity Recruitment (Pty) Ltd
R15 000 - R40 000 Per Month

External Sales

Western Cape
Disp Staffing CC
R16 000 - R20 000 Per Month

Auto Electrician

Western Cape
AGA Recruitment Specialists
R9 500 - R11 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a tendency to idealise and prepare for the future rather than face the present. Right now life is putting challenges in...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.