Feeds

UK injects £88m into Euro bid to build Hubble-thrashing 'scope

Building work starts on world's biggest space-gazer

High performance access to file storage

The UK will bung £88m towards the European Southern Observatory's £1bn project to build the world's largest telescope. The cash injection is on top of Blighty's annual £18m contribution to the ESO.

Construction of the ground-based European Extremely Large Telescope is underway and is expected to take ten years to complete. We're told the enormo-contraption will produce images 16 times sharper than the Hubble space 'scope, and should help answer some of the biggest questions facing modern astronomy.

E-ELT, an artist's impression, credit ESO

What the European Extremely Large Telescope is expected to look like

The E-ELT has a 39m-diameter primary mirror - its collection area is 47 nanoWales - and is capable of collecting at least 15 times more light than any existing telescope, we're told. The reflector-type scope is made of 798 1.4m-wide hexagonal mirror segments and features a novel design that results in exceptional image quality.

Eight projects to design special cameras and spectrographs to analyse the data collected by E-ELT are being considered. It will be capable of picking up spectrum from visible light to infrared.

Its location - 3,000m (9,800ft) up in the Cerro Armazones in Chile - allows the equipment to avoid atmospheric effects that plague lower-sited observatories. Specialised actuators, or pistons, move each individual hexagon panel to precisely control the shape of the mirror, compensating for effects on the light reaching the telescope.

Engineers are slicing off the top of the Chilean peak to get a flat surface on which to build the E-ELT, and they hope the facility will be completed by 2023.

Ground telescopes are a major priority for astronomers, who use them to study planets and their stars, the "first objects" in the universe, super-massive black holes, and the nature of dark matter and dark energy that dominate the universe.

Studies of the universe's first galaxies help define our understanding of the creation of the universe and the laws of physics. There's a handy cut-out-and-keep guide to the E-ELT's technology here [PDF]. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
IBM Hursley Park: Where Big Blue buries the past, polishes family jewels
How the internet of things has deep roots in the English countryside
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Honeybee boffin STINGS OWN WEDDING TACKLE... for SCIENCE
Not the worst place to be stung, says one man
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.