The Hubble Space Telescope has produced some jaw-dropping images from space, such as the famous “Pillars of Creation” and the Horsehead nebula. But the Hubble will soon encounter some stiff telescoping competition from a ground-based telescope so large it has been dubbed “E-ELT,” aka the European Extremely Large Telescope. The telescope is being designed by the European Southern Observatory, which will begin construction on a desert mountain top in Chile as soon as Brazil’s parliament ratifies the OSE’s charter and becomes a member state.
With a reflecting telescope that will measure more than 39 meters (127.95 feet) in diameter, the E-ELT will be the largest telescope ever made. According to Jochen Liske, an OSE astronomer, the E-ELT will probe for extra-solar planets with Earth-like masses and conduct direct imaging of larger planets. By analyzing light from distant galaxies, the E-ELT will help astronomers understand more about how stars are formed. Liske also said that the relatively large diameter of the E-ELT’s telescope will allow it to take in more light at higher resolutions than previous ground-based telescopes. OSE plans to finish the telescope by 2024.