World's Largest Telescope To Be Built in Chile


The world’s largest telescope will be built in Chile, high up in the Andes Mountains. Construction of the ELT (Extremely Large Telescope) will take ten years. Scientists hope that the powerful new telescope will give us more answers about our solar system and the universe.

The Atacama Desert in northern Chile is an ideal place to operate telescopes. Some of the world’s largest telescopes are already in position there. The new telescope will be built at an altitude of 2,600 meters and will be as big as a football stadium. Costs are expected to run at about $1.5 billion. The telescope will be operated by the European Southern Observatory which already runs a series of telescopes at Paranal in northern Chile.


The main mirror of the new telescope will be 42 meters wide, five times the size of the biggest existing telescope. It will consist of over 1,000 small mirrors that will be shipped to Chile and put together there. Astronomers say that the new instrument will produce images that are much sharper than the ones we get from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Telescopes Already Operating in Chile

Telescopes Already Operating in Chile -  European Southern Observatory (ESO)


Chile has already been the home of astronomers for many years.  By the year 2025 almost half of the world’s telescopes will be working in the South American state. One of the reasons for this is Chile’s climate. The Atacama Desert is the driest in the world; the skies are the clearest on our planet. In some areas there has never even been rain since man has recorded the weather. Signals are often changed by water particles in the atmosphere. This can’t happen in Chile’s desert.

Another reason is that astronomers can get a completely different look at the skies than they do in Europe and North America.

The existing telescopes in Chile have already made great discoveries. A big black hole, for example, has been discovered in the middle of our galaxy. The new telescope is expected to make further discoveries and maybe help us find signs of life elsewhere in the universe.



Related Topics


  • altitude  = height
  • astronomer  = a person who studies the skies, the planets and the stars
  • atmosphere  = the mixture of gases that is around a planet
  • billion  = a thousand million
  • completely  = totally
  • construction  = building
  • desert  = very dry place with little or no rainfall
  • discovery  = when you find something for the first time
  • elsewhere  = in another place
  • further  = more
  • image  = picture
  • mirror  = a special piece of glass that you can look into and see yourself in
  • operate  = run ; make something work
  • particle  = a very small piece of something
  • record  = write down information
  • scientist  = a person who works in a laboratory and is trained in s science
  • series  = many of the same kind
  • sharp  = clear
  • ship  = transport
  • solar system  = the sun and the planets that go around it
  • telescope  = instrument that looks like a tube and makes far away objects look bigger and closer