The construction of the super telescope, located on a 3,000 m high mountain in the middle of the Atacama Desert has started. The super telescope shall be operated by 2024 and will help astronomers in their hunt for alien life. Known as the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), this telescope is expected to be built around five times larger than the top notch telescopes used for observation at present. E-ELT is designed to find the galaxies present 14 bn years ago and is estimated to accelerate the discoveries made by astronomers of planets orbiting stars.
Functions of the Five Mirrors
With a 39 meters mirror, this telescope shall be housed in a massive dome of 85 m diameter, similar to a soccer field. The primary mirror collects the light from the night sky and reflects it to the smaller mirror above it. The secondary mirror reflects the light to the smaller mirror nestled in the primary mirror. The third mirror relays the light to the adaptive mirror above. The fourth mirror is adaptive in nature, possessing the ability to adjust its shape, one thousand times per second, so as to correct the distortions caused by atmospheric turbulences. The fifth mirror is mounted on a fast moving stage, the function of which is to stabilize the image and send light to cameras.
E-ELT to Help Discover Smaller Planets in the Galaxy
Astronomers will be able to locate the smaller planets with the help of this telescope apart from being equipped with a device that can image the larger planets. This telescope is expected to help in the characterization of atmospheres, which is extremely important in order to find out if there are any chances and signs of life in the planet. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, in his speech said that this is the most apt example of the wide possibilities of what science can do.