European Extremely Large Telescope

The first light from the European Extremely Large Telescope designed by the European Southern Observatory is due to take place in 2024, but much of the work on its optical technology has already started here in Durham.

Telescope

Image © of Andrew Reeves.

The first light from the European Extremely Large Telescope designed by the European Southern Observatory is due to take place in 2024, but much of the work on its optical technology has already started here in Durham. Durham University’s Centre for Advanced Instrumentation is a leading partner in building what will be the world’s largest telescope located in the Atacama Desert in Chile.

The primary mirror, essentially the telescope’s ‘eye’, will be 39 metres in diameter. It is nearly four times larger than the ones in the current state-of-the-art telescopes, and gathers around 15 times more light.

The mirror and other parts are designed so the telescope can be actively reconfigured to capture light from distant stars and galaxies. This means the European Extremely Large Telescope will have unprecedented ability to discover the origins and nature of the universe and to image directly planets in other solar systems.

The Centre for Advanced Instrumentation at Durham University develops state-of-the-art instruments for application across a wide range of disciplines.