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Durham University

Durham University News


Eye on the sky: Equipping the world's biggest telescope

(8 April 2016)

ELT trailer

Physicists at Durham University are helping to develop instruments for what will be the world’s largest telescope for observing visible light and infrared emissions from space.

The European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) is being built by the European Southern Observatory on top of a mountain in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile and is due to become operational in 2024.

The Durham University Centre for Advanced Instrumentation  is working alongside leading institutions from around the world on the design of the Multi-Object Spectrograph (MOSAIC), an instrument that will allow astronomers to probe some of the deepest mysteries of the universe, and the High Resolution Spectrograph (HIRES), which will be used for extremely detailed and accurate studies of individual objects.

Durham University is providing adaptive optics expertise for both instruments and is technical lead on the instrument core structure for MOSAIC.

Professor Simon Morris, Head of the Department of Physics and UK Co-Principle Investigator on MOSAIC, said: "The E-ELT will be world leading and these two instruments will deliver many of the capabilities we have been dreaming about from the start. Apart from providing answers to many current questions, the chance is very high for unexpected new insights by using these instruments."

Find out more

Artist’s impression of the European Extremely Large Telescope. Credit ESO, L. Calçada.

Artist’s impression of the European Extremely Large Telescope. Credit ESO, L. Calçada.

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