The “European Extremely Large Telescope”, or E-ELT for short, will be – as its name obviously suggests – the world’s biggest space telescope. It will cost more than one billion dollars and the plans for its construction are moving forward.
The project is part of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) agenda and 15 countries are collaborating for its construction, making E-ELT project one of the biggest global science collaborations in history.
UK, in particular, as the government recently confirmed, is investing up to £88 million just to make sure their Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) will be deeply involved in the construction and operation of the advanced telescope.
Although European, the E-ELT will be built in Chile, since the clear skies of the Atacama Desert are ideal for such an observatory. With a mirror of 39 meters in diameter, E-ELT will be able to collect 15 times more light than any other telescope and it will produce images 16 times sharper than the Hubble. Its dome will be nearly 74 meters high and 86 meters in diameter with two huge sliding doors of 45 meters total width.
The construction of E-ELT is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.