The World’s Biggest Eye on the Sky

6 Jun 2014, 10:00
30m
Effectenbeurszaal (Beurs van Berlage)

Effectenbeurszaal

Beurs van Berlage

Speaker

Prof. Lex Kaper (UVA)

Description

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) is now entering the construction phase of what will be the world’s largest optical/near-IR telescope, the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). With a 39-m primary aperture, the E-ELT is the most ambitious ground-based optical/near-IR facility currently forseen, and will provide astronomers with unprecedented sensitivity and spatial resolution. The foremost scientific objectives of the E-ELT are the detection and study of the very first structures in the early Universe (reaching back as far as 10-13 billion years ago), the detailed analysis of stellar populations in a representative sample of galaxies, and systematic characterization of the properties and formation processes of extrasolar planets. The E-ELT is particularly innovative as it integrates the technique of adaptive optics directly into such a large telescope. So-called Ground-Layer Adaptive Optics (GLAO) will provide correct for atmospheric turbulence using a large deformable mirror in the telescope, enhancing the image quality across the full field-of-view, and mitigating the impact of atmospheric conditions on observations. When combined with the vast collecting power of the E-ELT mirrors, the telescope will provide European astronomers with a truly world-leading facility.

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