Plans to build the largest optical telescope in the world have been given the green light.
Called the E-ELT – the European Extremely Large Telescope – its primary mirror will be around 40m in diameter, and the device will be constructed on a Chilean mountain top, where it can take advantage of very arid conditions of the Atacama Desert.
Support was given by members of the European Southern Observatory (Eso) organisation, although the total funding (£0.8bn) is not yet in place. That could become possible when the council next meets in December.
By then, Brazil should have become the group’s 15th member, making the project more affordable.
It is thought that the telescope will be ready for use from around 2022, and it is set to become one of the twenty first century’s most important pieces of astronomical equipment.
The E-ELT will spot things with a 39.3m main mirror, four times the width of the best modern optical telescopes. And its resolution and sensitivity should make imaging plants outside our solar system a possibility.
At the same time, it should be possible to gain important insights into galaxy formation, black holes, and a lot more. The sharpness of images and the size of the collecting area also make this piece of kit very exciting and powerful.
The telescope and its housing alone will be the size of a football stadium.
Buying your own Telescope
Of course, if you’re buying your own telescope, you don’t have to go for the biggest one in the world! But the sheer variety of models on offer can seem overwhelming.
In fact, many experts suggest power and zoom and a telescope should not be among your priorities when you are making your choice.
Instead, it is often thought better to concentrate on the aperture – the main lens or mirror’s diameter.
The bigger this is, the more light will enter the telescope, and the more you will be able to see.
One thing to bear in mind is that, for every inch of aperture or main lens size, the device will magnify 50 times. Or, if you are working in mm, then magnification is twice the diameter of the aperture.
How Sherwoods Photographic can Help
Whether you’re looking for binoculars, night vision telescopes or any other kind of optical equipment, make Sherwoods Photographic your first port of call.
We’re a specialist independent company, and very much a family affair, with 70 years’ continuous experience in the business. Our showroom is based in Warwickshire, but order online and you can look forward to next day delivery on some of the many items we have in stock.
We can help whether you’re into bird spotting or gazing at the night sky, and whether you’re already an expert yourself, or an amateur looking for their first piece of optical kit.
Use us and you can expect equipment of the highest quality from leading brands, and guidance and advice that’s second to none. After all, we’re the ultimate specialists, with unbeatable knowledge to help you find what you need.
Sherwoods Photo Ltd Orders & Information Telephone 01789-488880
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