E-ELT News

Published: 14 Jun 2016
Artist's impression of the E-ELT

The European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) is the flagship ESO Programme to build the world's largest optical/infrared telescope. The construction programme is now well underway with planned first light in 2024 and we felt it important to share with the scientific community the progress and achievements of the Programme.
Therefore, starting from this issue of the ESO Science Newsletter we will provide regular updates on the status of the Programme and important news regarding the E-ELT.

On 25 May 2016 at ESO Headquarters in Garching, the contract was signed between ESO and the ACe Consortium, consisting of Astaldi, Cimolai, and their nominated sub-contractor EIE Group, for the construction of the dome and telescope structure of the E-ELT. This is the largest contract ever awarded by ESO and also the largest contract ever in ground-based astronomy. Construction of the dome and telescope structure will now commence. For more information see the public release.

Regarding E-ELT instrumentation, the three first light instruments MICADO (high resolution imager), HARMONI (high resolution integral field spectrograph) and METIS (mid-infrared spectrograph) and the adaptive optics module, MAORY, are progressing well in the Phase B (Preliminary Design) stage. More information will be provided in future issues of the Science Newsletter.

In March 2016 the Phase-A designs for two other instruments also started: ELT-MOS and ELT-HIRES. The MOSAIC Consortium led by CNRS-INSU in France will develop a Phase A design for a Multi-Object Spectrograph (MOS). The instrument will combine high spectral and spatial resolution and will carry out wide-field surveys in the visible and near-infrared parts of the spectrum. The HIRES Consortium led by INAF in Italy will develop the study for a High Resolution Spectrograph, simultaneously operating at visible and near-infrared wavelengths, to be used for extremely detailed and accurate studies of individual objects. For more information about these two instruments, see the announcement.