Let’s crack on with the next session, which is about astronomy after IYA2009.
We currently have about 15 telescopes in the 8-10 metre class. Larger ones will help to answer even more questions and study planets in other stellar systems, stellar populations, cosmology, and the unknown – questions that have yet to be asked.
There is also a technical driver for creating larger telescopes. Since Galileo’s time the diameter of telescopes doubles every 40 to 50 years. Now we are seeking to break this rule by going even larger. That’s because in modern times detectors have improved more than diameters.
The three pillars of the science case: contemporary science, snergy with other facilities, discoveries.
Thinking beyond the next generation of extremely large telescopes, perhaps eventually all observatories will be built in space, where the Earth’s atmosphere wouldn’t block and wavelengths, and the lack of gravity would make constructing large devices much easier.
Desh is tele-blogging (is that a phrase? Have we invented something new and wonderful, or am I just not with the times?) Check out his coverage of this talk here: http://iya2009sl.blogspot.com/2010/01/iya2009-closing-ceremony-padua-italy.html