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Will the Extremely Large Telescope see first light by the end of 2024?

The Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) is an extremely cool project. Here are the basics, courtesy's reporting:

In the mountains of Chile sits the site of what will become the largest optical telescope in the world. The Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) will have a primary mirror made up of almost 800 individual segments and will be capable of collecting more light than all of the existing 8-to-10-meter telescopes on the planet, combined.

Among other things:

[the ELT] will allow astronomers to probe the earliest ages of the universe, study ancient galaxies, measure exoplanet atmospheres, and answer dozens of lingering questions in astronomy

Unsurprisingly, astronomers and space geeks everywhere are champing at the bit to put the pedal to the metal. But the project is big... and expensive. The original price tag was $1.34 billion. And delays on these projects can derail deadlines easily. Witness the debacle that has been NASA's James Webb Space Telescope.

Will the mission arrive on time? Will the ELT see first light in 2024?

Resolution is positive if by major media account "first light" (which is a pretty standard term) has been achieved by start of 2025.


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