Chilean Peak Blasted for Constructing World’s Largest Telescope
24 June 2014


The image shows the detonation atop Cerro Armazones, paving the way for building world’s largest optical telescope. 
Credit: ESO

In a special ceremony, held to mark a new major milestone for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), a gigantic optical telescope being built by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), part of the 3000-meter peak of Cerro Armazones in Chile was blown up, to level the summit in preparation for the construction of the telescope. E-ELT’s main mirror will be 39 meters in diameter, and capable of detecting infrared emission.

Currently, world’s largest optical telescope is the 10.4-meters-aperture Gran Telescopio Canarias (Canaries Great Telescope), erected atop a 2,267-mteres-high volcanic peak in the Canary Islands.

Distinguished guests from both Chile and the ESO member countries, as well as representatives of the local communities, senior officials from the E-ELT project and ESO staff attended the ceremony, held at Paranal Observatory, 20 km away from the mountain. The event was broadcast live, and can be viewed online.

This was the beginning of an elaborate levelling process, which will help landscape the mountain, so that it can accommodate the huge dome that will house the E-ELT, scheduled for inauguration in 2024. The hefty telescope will be capable of discovering and imaging extremely faint objects, such as exoplanets, planets orbiting beyond our solar system, and the most distant galaxies, glowing feebly on the edge of the visible universe. 


Aymen Mohamed Ibrahem
Senior Astronomy Specialist
News Center

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