Extremely Large Telescopes are considered worldwide as one of the highest priorities in ground-based astronomy. They will vastly advance astrophysical knowledge, allowing detailed studies of subjects including planets around other stars, the first objects in the Universe, super-massive black holes, and the nature and distribution of the dark matter and dark energy which dominate the Universe.
Since 2005 ESO has been working with its community and industry to develop an extremely large optical/infrared telescopes.
Dubbed ELT for European Extremely Large Telescope, this revolutionary new ground-based telescope concept will have a 39-metre main mirror and will be the largest optical/near-infrared telescope in the world: "the world’s biggest eye on the sky".
The ELT programme was approved in 2012 and green light for construction was given at the end of 2014. First light is targeted for 2027.
The ELT is a high technology project that incorporates many innovative developments. It offers numerous possibilities for technology and engineering spin-offs, technology transfer and technology contracting.
A detailed description of the future ELT is available for the general public here. The ELT Project page gives more information about the science that can be done with the ELT as well as the technical challenges.
The following information about the ELT and related projects ia available: