Chile won on Monday the right to host the largest-ever telescope, the Munich-based European Southern Observatory (ESO) said, calling the planned facility “the world’s biggest eye in the sky.” The other main contender site for the European Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), due to begin operation in 2018, was the Spanish island of La Palma in the Canary Islands, off western Africa.
The ESO, an intergovernmental astronomical research agency, already has three facilities operating in the Atacama desert, including the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in the town of Paranal which is currently considered the foremost European-operated observatory.
The ELT is intended to dwarf the VLT. Work on the new telescope is to begin in December next year and cost an estimated US$1.3 billion.
“This is an important milestone that allows us to finalize the baseline design of this very ambitious project, which will vastly advance astronomical knowledge,” ESO director general Tim de Zeeuw said of the decision for Chile in a statement.
The project calls for the construction of a huge telescope with a mirror 42m in diameter — nearly as big as an Olympic-sized swimming pool. It will permit optical and near-infrared peering into the heavens.
The ELT could be as revolutionary in the field of astronomy as Galileo’s telescope 400 years ago that determined that the Sun, and not the Earth, was the center of our universe, the ESO said.
Advocates argued that the Armazones mountain, altitude 3,060m, in the northern Chilean desert was the perfect place because of skies that are cloud-free 320 nights a year.
The region has extremely low humidity and is also free of the storms that lash the Canary Islands. In addition, the ESO’s Paranal observatory meant that much of the ground infrastructure was already in place.
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable