European Extremely Large Telescope BY: Elizabeth Billings

Construction and Operation

Left: Map of Cerro Amazones, where the E-ELT will be located; Right: Design of E-ELT
  • Where? The telescope will be located in Cerro Armazones in Chile. This mountain is at an altitude of 3060 meters and is in the central part of Chile's Atacama Desert.
  • How much did it cost? The E-ELT is estimated to cost over 1 billion dollars at 1,153,324,605 dollars. This price is extremely high for a telescope located on Earth, but this is an extremely large, extremely special telescope.
  • Who paid? The ESO, which is supported by 15 European countries and two South American countries, paid. Each country is helping to fund the E-ELT, and additional funding is still required.
Countries part of ESO
  • When was it built? The E-ELT was approved in 2012, and construction started in 2014.
  • How long was construction? The construction will, hopefully, last 10-12 years, and will be finished by 2024-2026.
  • Who operates it? The European Southern Observatory, or the ESO.
Left: Up close picture of the inside of the E-ELT; Middle: E-ELT demonstrating its use of reference stars; Right: E-ELT size in comparison to people and cars


  • Official Webpage:
  • Twitter: While the E-ELT does not have a twitter, the twitter for ESO ( does have a hashtag, #EELT for the telescope
  • Webpage of ESO:

Physical Characteristics

This is a diagram of the primary mirror in the E-ELT
  • What are the mirror dimensions? The primary mirror is 39 meters in diameter, the secondary mirror is 4 meters in diameter, and the tertiary mirror is 3.75 meters in diameter.
  • What are the mirrors made of? The material has not been decided yet.
  • Any Other Info? The mirror is divided into 798 different segments, each one being uniquely shaped to get the optimal picture.
This is a model of the mirror that will be made for the E-ELT

Optical Characteristics

  • What region of the EM Spectrum does it observe? It observes visual light and mid-near infrared light
  • What wavelengths/frequencies? Wavelengths: .7- 5 micrometers; 25-75 micrometers; .380-.75 micrometers. Frequency: 60 THz - 428 THz; 12 THz - 4 THz; 788.92 THz - 399.7 THz
  • What is the resolution? The resolution is .001-.65 arcseconds
  • Special Features? The E-ELT features adaptive optics to get a clear picture of the sky and compensate for adaptive optics. It also comes with active optics, to compensate for thermal expansion. The E-ELT comes with four unique tools that assist the telescope's performance: HARMONI (gathers data for spectroscopy in the 0.47−2.45 µm spectrum), MAORY (machine for adaptive optics and counteracting atmospheric blurring), METIS (gathers data for spectroscopy in 3–20 μm spectrum), and MICADO (gathers data for imaging in the 0.8–2.4 µm spectrum).
This picture shows all four instruments (HARMONI, MAORY, METIS, and MICADO) in the E-ELT and where their locations will be.

Research and Purpose

  • What kind of objects does the telescope study? The E-ELT will study the formation of some of the first objects in the universe: the first galaxy, black holes, and the first stars. It will also potentially measure the acceleration of the expanding universe, and study different exoplanets. It will also study objects in this solar system, especially farther planets like Uranus and Neptune and Kuiper-Belt objects.
  • What sets this apart from other telescopes? One of the unique features of this telescope is its size: at 39 meters in diameter, the E-ELT will be the largest telescope in existence. This is important because it allows the telescope to collect far more light, allowing the telescope to take pictures of objects that are much dimmer.

Links: Because the E-ELT is not built, there are no articles about the research it has done. However, there are articles about the E-ELT itself and the building process.


Pictures E-ELT will take

  • Description: The E-ELT will be able to take pictures of objects in our solar system, like Pluto, Neptune, and Kuiper-Belt objects, and mature exoplanets from other solar systems. It will also take pictures of other stars in the galaxy to examine their properties, and the properties of their protoplanetary disks. These pictures will help the ESO to study the formation of planets and stars, the environment of stars in the galaxy, and the uniqueness, or lack thereof, of our solar system.
These are photographs of objects the E-ELT will eventually take pictures of. Top left: Four protoplanetary disks taken by Hubble telescope; Top right: First photograph of exoplanets taken by VLT; Botton Left: Kuiper-Belt objects taken by Hubble; Bottom Right: Neptune taken by Voyager 2

Links to Pictures

  • Protoplanetary disks:
  • Exoplanets:
  • Kuiper-Belt objects:
  • Neptune:

Citations of Pictures

EELT Tite Picture:


Countries in E-ELT:

Map of Cerro Armazones:

E-ELT up close:

E-ELT Four Lasers:

E-ELT Compared to People:

E-ELT mirror model:

Four Instruments:

Diagram of mirror:


Protoplanetary disks:

Kuiper belt:


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