The groundbreaking for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) starts in less than half an hour. Why should you care? It involves explosives.

Cerro Armazones, a mountain located in Chile, will get a little shorter today. The explosion will make way for the E-ELT, which will be largest optical/infrared telescope in the world once it is completed.

The primary mirror will span 39 meters in diameter, that’s about 128 feet for us U.S. folks.

Why Cerro Armazones? This mountain is located in Chile’s Atacama Desert and has some of the clearest viewing conditions on Earth.

The E-ELT already has company. The European Southern Observatory, which is building the E-ELT, already has three observatories near today’s groundbreaking, including the Very Large Telescope (VLT). Seriously? At least try to come up with a cool name for a telescope. What comes after the E-ELT? The Colossally Epic Telescope (CET)?

Anyways, interested in watching a mountain get blown up? Head over here to watch it happen live in about 15 minutes. We’ll get a video of it up if you miss the live show.

Above image is an artist rendering.

Update: Here’s a picture of the explosion.

EELT groundbreaking


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