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Chile set to gain more giant telescopes

Already in the premier League of destinations to visit for giant astronomical telescopes, Chile is set to acquire new telescopes that dwarf the current crop of world’s largest observatories.

This week approval had been granted for European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) which will have a mirror 40m in diameter, four times the diameter and 16 times the light gathering power of the Keck telescopes on Hawaii.

On the same mountain of Cerro Pachon at an altitude of 2682m, another huge telescope, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) is due for completion in 2015. The LSST has a unique design based on a prototype developed at the University of Cambridge and using three mirrors to give an ultra wide 3.5 degree field of view. The scientific goals of LSST will include the measurement of weak gravitational lensing to detect concentrations of dark energy and dark matter.

The high altitude and clear, dry air of Chile’s Atacama Desert makes it one of the best places in the world to observe the universe.

Explorers are running a tour of the Chilean observatories in 2014 that will take in a number of the premier observatories in Chile including a visit to Cerro Pachon with it’s concentration of world beating telescopes.