UK invests £88m in world’s largest telescope

Monday March 4th, 2013

The UK research base and industry will play a leading role in one of the biggest global science collaborations in history, after the UK government confirmed long-term investment in the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) to be built in Chile.Government Opportunities (GO)

The E-ELT will make huge strides toward our understanding of the Universe, the effects of dark matter and energy and planets outside of the solar system. Its 39 metres in diameter mirror will collect 15 times more light than any existing telescope and it will produce images 16 times sharper than the Hubble space-based telescope.

The £88m investment will ensure UK scientists and engineers, supported by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), will be heavily involved in the construction and operation of the telescope and its instruments, set to be the most advanced of its kind.

UK industry has already won £9m worth of contracts, and that figure is predicted to increase as much as ten-fold before 2023 when construction is expected to be completed.

 STFC Chief Executive Officer, Professor John Womersley, said: “E-ELT is one of the highest priorities for STFC and the UK astronomy community. It not only has the potential for enormous benefit to UK industry but will be the world’s pre-eminent astronomical observatory for many years to come.”

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