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Construction Commences on World’s Largest Telescope in Chile

Construction works for building Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) has commenced in Chile. After completion, the Extremely Large Telescope will become the world’s largest optical telescope which will be five times larger than the top observing instruments that are in use today. The telescope will be constructed at a 3,000 meter-high mountain in the middle of the Atacama desert. The telescope is scheduled to commence its operations in 2024.

The ELT is funded by the European Southern Observatory. The organization comprises of European and southern hemisphere nations. It is expected that construction costs of ELT would come around 1 billion euros at 2012 prices.

Significance

The main mirror of the ELT will measure some 39 meters (43 yards) across. This massive size of the mirror will be of immense use to expand our understanding of the universe. The telescope will enhance the ability of astronomers to find more smaller planets, image larger ones, and possibly characterize their atmospheres. These capabilities will be key in understanding if life is present in those planets or not.

The dry atmosphere of the Atacama desert offers perfect observing conditions one can find on Earth. No wonder around 70% of the world’s astronomical infrastructure are slated to be built in the Atacama desert by the 2020s.

European Southern Observatory

Established in 1962, European Southern Observatory is a 16 nation intergovernmental research organization for ground based astronomy. Its observatories are situated in Chile. It has built and operated many technologically advanced telescopes like New Technology Telescope, Very Large Telescope (VLT), Atacama Large Millimeter Array etc.

 

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Scientists spot sunspot with centre twice the size of Earth

Scientists have spotted a new view of the dark, contorted centre of a sunspot that is nearly twice the diameter of the Earth.

It was spotted using Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA) antennas located in Atacama Desert of northern Chile. The discovery is an important expansion of range of observations that can be used to probe the physics of our nearest star.

Key facts

  • Using ALMA antennas capabilities, astronomers imaged the millimetre-wavelength light emitted by the Sun’s chromosphere, the region that lies just above the photosphere that forms the visible surface of the Sun.
  • They produced the images to study solar activity at longer wavelengths of light that are typically available to solar observatories on Earth.
  • Using two of ALMA’s receiver bands at wavelengths of 1.25 millimetres and three millimetres, scientists were able to observe an enormous sunspot.
  • The images captured through it help to reveal differences in temperature between parts of the Sun’s chromosphere and also understanding the heating and dynamics of the chromosphere.

Sunspots: They are darker, cooler areas on the surface of the sun in a region called the photosphere (having temperature 5,800 degrees Kelvin). Sunspots can be very large, up to 50,000 kilometers in diameter and have temperatures of about 3,800 degrees K. They are dark in comparison with the brighter and hotter regions of the photosphere surrounding them.

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Chile wins 2016 Copa America Football tournament

Defending champion Chile won the 2016 Copa America Football tournament by defeating Argentina in a penalty shootout.

In the final match played at MetLife Stadium, New Jersey (US) Chile defeated Argentina by 4-2 goals in the penalty shootout as in the regulation period both teams failed to score goal.

This was second Copa America title won by Chile after winning it for the first title in 2015 after defeating Argentina. With this, Chile also became the first team to win the title back to back since 1947.

Awards

  • Golden Boot: Eduardo Vargas (Chile).
  • Golden Ball: Alexis Sanchez (Chile).
  • Golden Glove award: Claudio Bravo (Chile).
  • Fair Play Award:

About Copa America Football title

  • The Copa America (means America Cup in Spanish and Portuguese) title is an international football competition.
  • It is played between the men’s national football teams of South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL).
  • Since the 1990s, teams from Asia and North America also are participating.
  • It is oldest international continental football competition established in 1916.
  • The present tournament format was restructured in 1993 which involves 12 teams. These teams compete at venues in a host nation over a period of one month.

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