Massive telescope will let us gaze deeper into the galaxy than ever before

The first stone for the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) was laid during an opening ceremony last week in Chile. Its name isn’t pure hyperbole — the ELT will boast a main mirror measuring 128 feet in diameter, which will make it the largest telescope on Earth once complete.

But size alone won’t make the ELT unique. The telescope will be unparalleled in clarity as well.

“It is an adaptive telescope,” Niranjan Thatte, an Oxford astrophysicist who will work with the telescope, told Digital Trends. “[This] means that it has built into it a mechanism … for compensating the effects of atmospheric turbulence, allowing the telescope to deliver much sharper images than typical ground-based telescopes.”

Thatte serves as principal investigator of HAROMNI, a visible and near-infrared instrument that will be designed to snap thousands of images at once, each in a different color.

“It is a workhorse instrument, designed to carry out a large variety of science observations, from observations of planets around nearby stars, and in our own solar system, to the most distant galaxies,” Thatte said. “It will improve our understanding of how galaxies formed and evolved.”

As an integral field spectrograph, HARMONI will be capable of capturing 4,000 images simultaneously. Thatte’s research team will use these images to study distant celestial structures, like galaxies and solar systems, to determine their mass, age, and chemical makeup.

ELT is scheduled for completion in 2024. Although Thatte expects to conduct great science once it’s launched, he acknowledges that many of our most pressing questions may change in the next seven years.

“Personally, I feel that the real groundbreaking discoveries from ELT will be those that we cannot plan today – the telescope and its instruments will allow new ‘parameter space’ to be explored – observations markedly different from any that we imagine today,” he said. “It will be these unforeseen uses that will likely yield truly remarkable physical insights into the way the universe works.”

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

New experiment casts doubt on claims to have identified dark matter

A South Korean experiment called COSINE-100 has attempted to replicate the claims of dark matter observed by the Italian DAMA/LIBRA experiment, but has failed to replicate the observations.

MIT science photographer isn’t an artist, but her work could fill galleries

Felice Frankel is an award-winning photographer, but she doesn't consider herself an artist. As a science photographer, she has been helping researchers better communicate their ideas for nearly three decades with eye-catching imagery.
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and other that do ... nothing particularly useful.
Emerging Tech

White dwarf star unexpectedly emitting bright ‘supersoft’ X-rays

NASA's Chandra Observatory has discovered a white dwarf star which is emitting supersoft X-rays, calling into question the conventional wisdom about how X-rays are produced by dying stars.

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.
Emerging Tech

It’s no flying car, but the e-scooter had a huge impact on city streets in 2018

Within just a year, electric scooters have fundamentally changed how we navigate cities. From San Francisco to Paris, commuters have a new option that’s more fun than mass transit, easier than a bike, and definitely not a car.
Emerging Tech

Full-fledged drone delivery service set to land in remote Canadian community

Some drone delivery operations seem rather crude in their execution, but Drone Delivery Canada is building a comprehensive platform that's aiming to take drone delivery to the next level.
Emerging Tech

Intel wants its fleet of drones to monitor America’s aging, unsafe bridges

Intel has signed a deal to use its Falcon 8+ drones to carry out bridge inspections. The hope is that these drones will be useful in spotting potential problems before they become serious.
Emerging Tech

Transplanted pig hearts show promise in baboon trials. Are humans next?

Researchers in Germany have successfully transplanted modified pig hearts into baboons. The results take us one step closer to ending organ transplant waiting lists for good. Here's why.
Emerging Tech

An A.I. cracks the internet’s squiggly letter bot test in 0.5 seconds

How do you prove that you’re a human when communicating on the internet? The answer used to be by solving a CAPTCHA puzzle. But maybe not for too much longer. Here is the reason why.
Emerging Tech

Makerbot is back with a new 3D printer that’s faster and more precise than ever

MakerBot's new Method 3D printer aims to bridge the gap between home 3D printers and more industrial 3D printing tech. Here are a few of the tantalizing things you can expect from it.

Print your heart’s desire: Enter our giveaway to win a free Monoprice 3D printer

We’re giving away a $400 Monoprice MP Voxel 3D Printer. It's easy to use, especially for beginners, with its simple menu system and touchscreen display. It comes fully assembled so you can spend more time printing instead of setting up.
Emerging Tech

Warm ski beanie instantly hardens into a head-protecting helmet upon impact

Wool hats are way more comfortable than hard helmets. You know what they're not? Safer. That could soon change, thanks to an innovative new ski beanie which instantly hardens upon impact.