Eindhoven company to help build giant telescope in Chile

ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope that is being built in Chile, April 2018
ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope that is being built in Chile, April 2018. Photo: Screenshot / YouTube / European Southern Observatory (ESO)

VDL in Eindhoven is going to help the European Southern Observatory build the largest telescope in the world. Tens of millions of euros are involved in this project, Omroep Brabant reports.

The telescope is being built in northern Chile at a height of 3 kilometers. It will be about the size of a football stadium. The telescope consists of huge mirrors, that absorb more light than all the large, professional optical telescopes that currently exist together. The giant mirrors will be installed on carriers. VDL ETG Projects will build the carriers for the main mirror. This support structure will keep the main mirror in the desired shape, with nanometer precision. 

The giant telescope will be used for scientific discoveries in the area of planets, the composition of nearby galaxies and the deep universe. 

Willem van der Leegte, CEO of VDL, signed the contract to help build this telescope at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) office in Germany on Thursday.

"It's great that ESO is giving us this prestigious order, this is the first time that a contract of this magnitude in the field of astronomy is going to a Dutch party." Van der Leegte said to the broadcaster. "This project is a great business card for the European high-tech supply industry. It enables VDL Group to further profile itself as a high-tech player and this represents a springboard to our involvement in more new ESO telescopes that are being built around the world."

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