Next Generation Telescopes To Solve the Biggest Mysteries of the Universe





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Published on Oct 3, 2012

http://www.facebook.com/ScienceReason ... Building big - amazing telescopes of the future (ESOcast 48 with astronomer Joe Liske). Discover more about ESO's next generation of telescopes that will help in the quest to solve the biggest mysteries of the Universe.

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This episode of the ESOcast relates how ESO - based on experience gathered over the past fifty years as the most powerful observatory in history - is going to satisfy the eternal longing of astronomers: the construction of even bigger telescopes.

The first of ESO's next generation telescopes is almost finished on the Chajnantor Plateau. The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter array (ALMA), a joint project of Europe, North America and Asia, will be composed of 66 high-precision antennas when it becomes fully operational in 2013.

Acting together as a giant telescope, ALMA will reveal the finest details of the cool Universe, spotting the birth of the first galaxies and peeking inside the dusty clouds of molecular gas - stellar nurseries where new stars and planets are born.

While ALMA is nearly completed and already producing outstanding results, ESO's crowning jewel is still a few years away. The European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) will be the world's biggest eye on the sky. Sporting a 39-metre main mirror, the E-ELT will dwarf every telescope that preceded it.

The E-ELT will be a powerful tool to help to find life elsewhere in the Universe, by looking for biosignatures on the atmospheres of Earth-like planets orbiting distant stars. The E-ELT will also be able to capture light from very faint and distant objects, revealing much about the early history of the Universe, when stars first began to shine.



Tags: telescopes alma eelt e-elt next generation future new mysteries space universe eso atacama large millimeter submillimeter array european extremely large telescope southern observatory astronomers


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