The world’s largest telescope slowly sees the light in northern Chile

The firsts of the Large Ultra Telescope (ELT) are slowly beginning to appear in northern Chile, which is one of the best places to observe stars. This optical instrument, which will see the light of day in 5 years, is the most powerful yet, and aims to expand the capabilities of astronomers to observe. According to “Agence France Presse”.

This telescope, which constitutes a new “eye” in the sky, will be added, starting from 2027, to the set of observational instruments with great capabilities that are already operating in the Atacama Desert, allowing scientists to increase the ability of scientists to observe by 5,000 times than it is currently, in addition to focusing on places that are not It is still unknown to this day in order to provide answers to the questions that still exist about the origin of the universe.

Chilean astronomer Luis Chavarria of the European Southern Observatory, which finances the construction of the ELT telescope, told Agence France-Presse: “There are scientific questions that we want to find answers to, and these questions dictate the need for technology to help us reach these answers.” . He adds, “The development of astronomy is linked to what technology and observational capabilities provide and all that these wonderful tools provide.”

The current observing tools can provide answers to the questions that astronomers were asking three decades ago, such as the Great Telescope “VLT”, which is the most powerful instrument currently operating, in addition to the “ALMA” observatory, which is the largest radio telescope in the world. Both are located in northern Chile. But in order to expand the horizons of knowledge, more effective instruments have been built, such as the ELT telescope, which will be installed above Cerro Armazonis at an altitude of three thousand meters and about 20 kilometers from the Great Telescope of the European Southern Observatory.

The ELT, whose construction began in 2017, consists of a main mirror with a diameter of 39 meters, consisting of 798 small hexagonal mirrors.

“(ELT) is an upgraded version of the Great Telescope, and it is clearly very different from what was built previously, as it has significantly different technical standards,” which explains why the time needed to complete its construction, said site official Guido Veccia. .

“It is a future project that will allow us to observe other distances in the universe,” says geologist and technical assistant in the ELT construction, Susie Solis.

The climatic characteristics of the Atacama Desert, in addition to its dry weather, factors that allow observations in a clear sky 90 percent of the nights of the year, make this region a very suitable place for astronomical observations.

The European Southern Observatory indicates that one of its main goals is to take pictures of “rocky exoplanets in order to determine the characteristics of their atmosphere and directly measure the accelerating expansion of the universe.”


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