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The most ambitious of these projects is the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) ( [link] ). (Astronomers try to outdo each other not only with the size of these telescopes, but also their names!) The design of the E-ELT calls for a 39.3-meter primary mirror, which will follow the Keck design and be made up of 798 hexagonal mirrors, each 1.4 meters in diameter and all held precisely in position so that they form a continuous surface.

Construction on the site in the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile started in 2014. The E-ELT, along with the Thirty Meter Telescope and the Giant Magellan Telescope, which are being built by international consortia led by US astronomers, will combine light-gathering power with high-resolution imaging. These powerful new instruments will enable astronomers to tackle many important astronomical problems. For example, they should be able to tell us when, where, and how often planets form around other stars. They should even be able to provide us images and spectra of such planets and thus, perhaps, give us the first real evidence (from the chemistry of these planets’ atmospheres) that life exists elsewhere.

Artist’s conception of the european extremely large telescope.

Illustration of the European Extremely Large Telescope seen through the open dome of the building, and the surrounding desert landscape in Chile.
The primary mirror in this telescope is 39.3 meters across. The telescope is under construction in the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile. (credit: ESO/L. Calçada)

New and even larger telescopes are on the drawing boards. The James Webb Space Telescope, a 6-meter successor to Hubble, is currently scheduled for launch in 2018. Gamma-ray astronomers are planning to build the CTA to measure very energetic gamma rays. Astronomers are building the LSST to observe with an unprecedented field of view and a new generation of visible-light/infrared telescopes with apertures of 24.5 to 39 meters in diameter.

For further exploration


Blades, J. C. “Fixing the Hubble One Last Time.” Sky&Telescope (October 2008): 26. On the last Shuttle service mission and what the Hubble was then capable of doing.

Brown, A. “How Gaia will Map a Billion Stars.” Astronomy (December 2014): 32. Nice review of the mission to do photometry and spectroscopy of all stars above a certain brightness.

Irion, R. “Prime Time.” Astronomy (February 2001): 46. On how time is allotted on the major research telescopes.

Jedicke, Peter&Robert. “The Coming Giant Sky Patrols.” Sky&Telescope (September 2008): 30. About giant telescopes to survey the sky continuously.

Lazio, Joseph, et al. “Tuning in to the Universe: 21 st Century Radio Astronomy.” Sky&Telescope (July 2008): 21. About ALMA and the Square Kilometer Array.

Lowe, Jonathan. “Mirror, Mirror.” Sky&Telescope (December 2007): 22. On the Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona.

Lowe, Jonathan. “Next Light: Tomorrow’s Monster Telescopes.” Sky&Telescope (April 2008): 20. About plans for extremely large telescopes on the ground.

Mason, Todd&Robin. “Palomar’s Big Eye.” Sky&Telescope (December 2008): 36. On the Hale 200-inch telescope.

Questions & Answers

what phases of the moon occurs when spring tide?
Florence Reply
the moon has a 28 day cycle. you can download a moon calander or follow the pattern and make your own calendar. 1st full moon of the year 21/22nd Jan, its also a blood moon and a wolf moon. if this info helps at all. 😊
How to determine the velocity of light?
what is mean by Big Bang
block Reply
What it means by Big Bang is how the world was made and came in to exist
The Big Bang Is The Best Explanation For What We See Around Us, And For The Origin Of The Universe, All Our Evidence Points To The Big Bang Theory..... And Was Proposed By A Belgian Priest.....
if the big bang theory is really true than i would like to know what exploded and where did it came from and where did the energy came from and where come from for the matter to expand into amd where did the organization come from and where did the information come from.........
Some say that on the otherside of the singularity was a black hole. They say that at the other end of all black holes is another universe. Hence the multiverse. It's all theoretical at this point but less than a 100 years ago people believed that there was only 1 galaxy in the universe. So why
should there be only 1 universe?
is astronomy a hard subject to learn because i want to be an astronomer
FNAF Reply
No it not it just takes time and effort to learn
if your already interested/observing, your already an astronomer ! The more you look and read the more you'll learn.
I want to become a scientist but my knowledge is very low. How I can improve my knowledge?
any form of science courses, there's free crash course channel on you tube. I've learned alot from this channel. covers most topics, science: biology chemistry physics, astronomy, ranges to anatomy, history and many many more. it's a never ending subject!
suggest a channel as a example
CrashCourse is the name of the channel and there is a picture of an apple. look through their play lists. They will have other related channels they follow also.
thank you so much
your very welcome
Why are they so far away that their light takes hundreds of millions of years to reach us on earth?
LadyCatTM Reply
what is comets , astroids ,
Sumit Reply
comets are broken pieces of dust frozen debris Asteroids are big soiled pieces of Ice that burst into flames when it in to earth's atmosphere
hi, I am yamini, I am in class 8 but very much interested in astronomy and go to NASA, what are the subjects in which I can master and lead to NASA.
yamini Reply
Hello Yamini, Im Ken and I'm avery intrested in joining the NASA too. Is nice to meet you.
nice to meet u ken
What I know about the subjects is that you have to be a master on science and math, also if you know about aviation is better too
I read that the Russian language is very important, is not a requirement but it's like an extra point!
yeah like physics, chemistry and maths, they are my most favorite.
than you can go free of cost
Yes, That's right!
Oh! Free of cost?
hello yamini nice to meet you
wow from NASA ur so lucky
hello yamini nice to meet you
what is time
Abdul Reply
Time is relative
pls elaborate
the clear defination.I know that.
In planet mars there the life exits or not and is there water there
Eshwarsa Reply
see till now nothing can be found as u know that the curiosity rover has struck in mars
It has been proven that there are water molecules on Mars but not enough that most lifeforms could thrive upon.
There are huge amounts of water in the ice caps and under the surface. The surface and chemistry indicate that Mars had cosiderable amounts of water on its surface in the past.
what is your opinion about the theory of Vedas about modern physics..
Manish Reply
i think in some ways vedas are also correct but not everytime
I agree
hmm even I agree
Is there any patened theory about time relativitg in growth and development?
donot Reply
some astronomer's says that there is no alien exist but why search for extra terrestrial intelligence center is established
Eshwarsa Reply
No One Knows That For Absolute Fact, The Universe Is Too Huge To Have Any Type Of Idea About What Exist In The Far Reaches Of Our Universe.....
Check Out The Drake Equation.....
their should be aliens as like ours there would be another planet
which could have existed life on it
adam i want to ask a question
can kepler 1st law be applied on all the planets of the universe
hello, anyone home?
guys listen we cannot ever find aliens because our technology is not that great.we don't know whether they exist or no because our universe is very large . Just for an example;even if we spot out aliens we cannot reach there because lot of time must have been passed and before us reaching there
what if their species or existence might get vanished our have been extinct!! getting my point
sjskskfhjkkktewqqw and try?
Lanika Reply
what is this ?
hi I am Samuel from India mumbai
nice to meet you
thats my question, what is this?
penzias and wilson's a discovery of the cosmic microwave background is a nice example of scientific serendipity-something that is found by chance but turns out to have a positive outcome
Jacqueline Reply
how should I make my carrier in astronomy
Ayush Reply
I think that Newton's third law is not appropriate if any also thinks like this please reply me
Can you explain your reasoning
why u think so
yes Ayush u are right
I think when we apply force to a object it start moving but , a/c to Newton's third law every action has equal and opposite reaction,so object should also exert equal force on us and it should not move due to balanced force
if I am not right then reply me
because of friction that opposes that force and help us to move ahead
but this is not satisfied as third law say another thing
you are telling why object moves
you have to think a/c to third law
its because of its mass
because it is applying equal and opposite force but also our mass is also less in comparison to the object
which is why we cant move the object but it can make move us
manish is too correct in his place because we need to apply force which would overcome the frictional force

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Source:  OpenStax, Astronomy. OpenStax CNX. Apr 12, 2017 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11992/1.13
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