The E-ELT will be the largest optical/near-infrared telescope in the world and will gather 13 times more light than the largest optical telescopes existing today. The E-ELT will be able to correct for the atmospheric distortions (i.e., fully adaptive and diffraction-limited) from the start, providing images 16 times sharper than those from the Hubble Space Telescope. The E-ELT will vastly advance astrophysical knowledge by enabling detailed studies of planets around other stars, the first galaxies in the Universe, super-massive black holes, and the nature of the Universe's dark sector.
The E-ELT project is included in the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) List of Opportunities. It has also been ranked in the 2010-2025. ASTRONET European strategic planning as one of two clear top priorities for future ground-based astronomical infrastructures.
The project has completed the E-ELT's detailed design, which passed the Final Design Review successfully in September 2010. Between the end of 2010 and the summer of 2011 the E-ELT project extended the detailed design phase in order to consider the recommendations of the E-ELT Design Review. The main goals were the reduction of risk by optimising the cost and constraining the schedule in order to ensure that ESO can further expand its leading role in astronomy by constructing the world’s first extremely large telescope.
In June 2011 ESO Council endorsed a revised baseline design for the E-ELT (more). This leads to a significant cost saving, as well as reduced risk on major items such as the secondary mirror.
Following the successful E-ELT Design Review in September 2010 and Brazil's accession to ESO (more), the E-ELT project is now not only technically ready to enter the construction phase, but is also backed by a solid funding scenario.
Preparatory construction work on some of the E-ELT's first elements will commence in early 2012 (more). The final approval of the whole E-ELT programme by ESO Council is expected in mid-2012, which will enable the E-ELT to start operations as an integrated part