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A new record nears: the world’s largest telescope prepares for completion

20 Sep 2017, 14:01 UTC
A new record nears: the world’s largest telescope prepares for completion ESO/L. Calçada
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This artist’s rendering shows a night view of the Extremely Large Telescope in operation on Cerro Armazones in northern Chile. The telescope is shown using lasers to create artificial stars high in the atmosphere. Image credit: ESO/L. Calçada.The ELT, at 39 meters in diameter, will dwarf everything that’s ever come before.“There are so many people who are arguing or fighting over issues which don’t have much relevance. We must all realise it is not worth it. It’s like being in the whirlpools which are always present behind a little rock near a river. We seem to be living in these little whirlpools and forget that there is a whole river. The picture is much bigger.” -Kalpana ChawlaIf you want to learn more about the Universe than you ever have before, there’s only so much you can do. You can improve your optics and your seeing, making your mirrors smoother and defect-free than ever before. You can improve your conditions, through adaptive optics or optimizing your observatory’s location. You can work on your camera/CCD/grism technology, to make the most of every single photon your telescope is capable of collecting. But even if you do all that, there’s one improvement that will ...

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