January 2011 — ESO's planned European Extremely Large Telescope
A new architectural concept drawing of ESO's planned European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) shows the telescope at work, with its dome open and its recordsetting 42-metre primary mirror pointed to the sky. In this illustration, clouds float over the valley overlooked by the E-ELT's summit. The comparatively tiny pickup truck parked at the base of the E-ELT helps to give a sense of the scale of this massive telescope. The E-ELT dome will be similar in size to a football stadium, with a diameter at its base of over 100 m and a height of over 80 m.
Scheduled to begin operations early in the next decade, the E-ELT will help track down Earth-like planets around other stars in the habitable zones where life could exist — one of the Holy Grails of modern observational astronomy. The E-ELT will also make fundamental contributions to cosmology by measuring the properties of the first stars and galaxies and probing the nature of dark matter and dark energy.
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Swinburne Astronomy Productions/ESO