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

by Elizabeth Howell on June 19, 2014

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

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

About 

Elizabeth Howell is the senior writer at Universe Today. She also works for Space.com, Space Exploration Network, the NASA Lunar Science Institute, NASA Astrobiology Magazine and LiveScience, among others. Career highlights include watching three shuttle launches, and going on a two-week simulated Mars expedition in rural Utah. You can follow her on Twitter @howellspace or contact her at her website.

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