A technology development programme towards the European Extremely Large Telescope
Sponsored by the European Commission within Framework Programme 6


All over the world astronomers are keen to unravel the mysteries of the Universe. The present generation of 8-10 m class telescopes, like the ESO VLT, is in full operation and a new generation of so-called Extremely Large Telescopes (ELT in short) with diameters of ~30m or more is actively being prepared. These future giant instruments, including hopefully a European ELT, will come on line by 2015 or later. They will tackle the scientific challenges of their time, including peering at the 'dark ages' of our Universe - its first billion years - and tracking down earth-like planets in their habitable zones.


As one can imagine, the task to build an ELT is not a trivial one. Extrapolating technical solutions for light collectors from 10m diameter to 30m or more while keeping an exquisite image quality in sizable fields is a major challenge. The ELT Design Study is conducted by European scientific institutes and high-tech companies to establish the enabling technologies needed to make them feasible at an affordable cost within the next 5-10 years. more!


The work planned to be done in the ELT Design Study framework has been broken down by the various technological areas ("Tasks"), with well defined activities ("Work Packages") planned under each Task. It covers a huge variety of challenging technologies, e.g. manufacturing and aligning hundreds of mirrors with 10 nm accuracy and developing sophisticated adaptive optics systems able to cancel in real time the image fuzziness created by atmospheric turbulence. more!


To conduct the ELT Design Study, 30 partners decided to join forces in the ELT-DS Consortium, coordinated by ESO. Partners are either scientific institutes or industrial companies, mostly located in Europe. more!


Looking for a challenging job in a fascinating project? more!


last modified: 2007/03/12
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