The Extremely Large Telescope, an ambitious, new tool for exploring stars and getting to know the universe even better
Under construction on the summit of Cerro Armazones, at over 3000 meters above sea level, its dome will dominate the Chilean desert of Atacama, the ELT – Extremely Large Telescope will be the largest and most powerful optical telescope ever built in the world.
The ELT created by the European Southern Observatory is the tool with which you can face what to date remain the great open challenges in the field of astronomical science.
It will be possible to search for exoplanets, similar to Earth, orbiting in the habitable zones of a star, and the Extremely Large Telescope will be able to make a fundamental contribution to the study of dark matter and dark energy. Its use will also be decisive in other areas, helping us to know even better the planets of our Solar System and the stars in our galaxy and beyond.
The ELT predicts huge strides forward in understanding the Universe, but also new and unpredictable questions that can test fundamental theories of physics.
The World’s Biggest Eye on the Sky . The technology of a revolutionary optical instrument
Unique not only in size, the ELT will be equipped with a primary mirror (M1) with a diameter of 39 meters, consisting of 798 hexagonal segments of 1.4 meters each. It will also have a cutting-edge optical design: 5 mirrors (M1, M2, M3, M4, M5), of different shapes, sizes and with different roles that will work together to capture unprecedented images. Also thanks to incredibly sophisticated technologies of “adaptive optics“, able to compensate for turbulence and correct the distortions of light produced by the Earth’s atmosphere, the pre-focal station, the connection between the telescope and its instruments, and a control system that allows researchers to use the telescope in a safe and coordinated way.
ELT, cutting-edge engineering in all aspects
The structure of the Extremely Large Telescope, with its giant dome about 80 meters high and 88 meters in diameter, will have a fixed lower part, the concrete pillar, and a rotating upper one, to allow the observation of the night sky in any direction through its large opening for observation.
A work that must be rigid, to keep its components stable and precisely aligned, and sufficiently light, to prevent the telescope from deforming under its own weight. Once completed, the telescope alone will weigh about 4,600 tons and will need its components, the most sophisticated and cutting-edge ever created for astronomy, to receive special protection to withstand the Chilean desert environment, by its extreme nature with potentially damaging sand and wind, and more often subject to earthquakes.
Condor systems at the service of a pioneering project
The construction of the ELT, due to its complexity, required the use of systems designed specifically for it, versatile and practical, to adapt to any need, quality, to withstand the extreme conditions of the place and be up to the epochal importance of the project.
For this reason, Condor systems were chosen for its construction.
- Special formworks designed by our technicians and built in our customized production plants to meet the needs, as mentioned, complex and that require special construction techniques, not satisfiable with standard systems and equipment.
- Comax formwork systems, large surface area panels, but with a small number of accessories, able to withstand high jet pressures, ideal for facilitating and speeding up the formwork operations of the huge main structure of the dome as well as the other accessory structures of the work.
- Optimo modular formworks, chosen for their practicality and handling, combined with the possibility of being used horizontally or vertically with the same accessories, for small parts and in general for the internal parts.
- Multicom, our multi-directional modular scaffolding system, the ones that’s been used to build around the circumference of the foundations. Thanks to its innovative system, the quick coupling, and the high capacity, Multicom has been the ideal choice to meet the construction site needs of such a complex structure, ensuring rigidity and structural stability.