London, Apr 27(ANI): The European Southern Observatory (ESO) Council has selected Cerro Armazones in Chile as the baseline site for the planned 42-meter European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT).
Cerro Armazones is a mountain at an altitude of 3060 meters in the central part of Chile's Atacama Desert, some 130 kilometers south of Antofagasta town and about 20 kilometers from Cerro Paranal, home of ESO's Very Large Telescope.
"This is an important milestone that allows us to finalize the baseline design of this very ambitious project, which will vastly advance astronomical knowledge," The American Astronomical Society quoted Tim de Zeeuw, ESO's Director General, as saying.
"I thank the site selection team for the tremendous work they have done over the past few years," he added.
The decision on the E-ELT site is based on an extensive comparative meteorological investigation, which lasted several years.
ESO's next step is to build a European extremely large optical/infrared telescope (E-ELT) with a primary mirror 42 meters in diameter.
The E-ELT will be "the world's biggest eye on the sky"- the only such telescope in the world. ESO is drawing up detailed construction plans together with the community.
The E-ELT will address many of the most pressing unsolved questions in astronomy, and may, eventually, revolutionize our perception of the Universe, much as Galileo's telescope did 400 years ago.
The final go-ahead for construction is expected at the end of the year, with the start of operations planned for 2018. (ANI)