The top of Cerro Armazones in Chile is blown off June 19, 2014 for the European Extremely Large Telescope. Credit: Vine / ObservingSpace

Poof! Mountain Blows Its Top To Make Way For Huge Telescope

Article Updated: 23 Dec , 2015

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All’s clear for a huge telescope to start construction on a mountaintop in Chile! That puff you see is the top of Cerro Armazones getting a haircut, losing many tons of rock in just a few seconds. The aim is to clear the way for the European Extremely Large Telescope, a 39-meter (128-foot) monster of a telescope to occupy the mountain’s top. Once completed later this decade, the optical/near-infrared telescope has an ambitious research schedule ahead of it. It will search for planets that look like Earth, try to learn more about how nearby galaxies were formed, and even look for the mysterious dark energy and dark matter that pervade our universe. Construction is being overseen by the European Southern Observatory, which provided an enthusiastic livetweet of the process. You can learn more about E-ELT on ESO’s webpage here.  Thanks to @observingspace for posting a Vine of the explosion. Below is an ESO video showing preparations for the blast.

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