Section 5.2.1: What are the biggest 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
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
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