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RE: Extremely Large Telescopes
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Space race: the new generation of super-telescopes

Astronomers are taking part in a new space race - to build the world's largest telescope. Four rival projects are now under way and should see a series of giant observatories operating on mountain tops in Hawaii and Chile by the end of the decade.
Each telescope will be at least 10 times more powerful than any operating on Earth today and will revolutionise our knowledge of the universe by peering further and further back into the dim recesses of the cosmos.

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Seven extreme experiments
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The edge of physics: seven extreme experiments

How far would you travel for physics? How about Siberia? Or deep underground into an abandoned mine? Or the South Pole? While that may sound outlandish, thats exactly what experimental physicists have to do these days. The nature of unanswered questions in physics and cosmology is such that its no longer enough to do simple experiments in labs or point telescopes at the sky from your local mountaintop. Here is a list seven extreme locations for cutting-edge physics, each of which I travelled to and discuss in detail in The Edge of Physics:
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Astronomers this year are about to get a windfall of new and improved telescopes of unprecedented power with which to explore the universe.
The bonanza arrives 400 years after Galileo spied craters on the moon through the worlds first telescope.
Instruments coming on line in 2009 will let researchers see farther and more clearly than ever - perhaps even detect signs of life on another planet or an asteroid swooping dangerously close to Earth.


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The Design of Extremely Large Telescopes
In the late 1970s, astronomers had a problem: the scale of their telescopes no longer matched the size of their ambitions. To see deeper and deeper into our universe"s past, they needed a bigger telescope. To build a bigger telescope, they needed a larger mirror, but mirrors larger than five meters had the pesky habit of deforming, producing bad images and frustrating attempts to surpass the resolution of the 5-meter Hale Telescope, first built in 1948. "Many people thought [the Hale] was the biggest telescope that would ever be built," said Mike Bolte, director of the University of California Observatories. When the Russians built a 6-metertelescope by the old methods in 1976, it produced awful, distorted images.

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