Section 5.2.1: What are the biggest ground-based telescopes?

Ground-based telescopes

Large, ground-based telescopes allow astronomers to make detailed observations from the convenience of the Earth's surface. This section will introduce the most advanced and soon to be the largest ground-based telescopes. 

The development of bigger and better telescope mirrors has enabled new areas of astronomy to be opened up for exploration.

ACTIVITY: Watch the following video, produced by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which explains the importance and development of telescope mirrors.

mirrorsVideo player: esocast63a.m4v  

(credit: ESO)

The Very Large Telescope (or VLT) operated ESO is described as the world's most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory.

ACTIVITY: Watch the following video which provides a guided tour of the VLT.

VLTVideo player: vlttrailer2009.m4v   

(credit: ESO)

As if the VLT is not large enough, plans are underway to build something even bigger – the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT).

ACTIVITY: Watch the following video to hear more about it.

E-ELTVideo player: elttrailer.m4v   

(credit: ESO)

Last modified: Tuesday, 6 Jan 2015, 13:42