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Proceedings Paper

European Extremely Large Telescope: some history, and the scientific community's preferences for wavelength
Author(s): Gerard Gilmore
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Paper Abstract

Extremely expensive new telescopes involve a compromise between the extreme ambitions of the scientific community, whose support justifies the financial costs, and the need to have a telescope design which can actually be built today at appropriate cost. In this article I provide a brief history of the process which built community support in Europe for what has become the European Extremely Large Telescope project (E-ELT). I then review remaining tensions between the community science case and day-one technical performance. While the range of very strong scientific cases which support the E-ELT project will largely be delivered, and lead to a quite outstanding scientific return, there are - as always! - demands for even more impressive performance. In addition to what the E-ELT will deliver, much of the community wants high spatial resolution at wavelengths shorter than one micron. Affordable adaptive optics systems will work best, initially at somewhat longer wavelengths. Planned performance enhancement during its operational life is very desirable in the E-ELT.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 April 2008
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 6986, Extremely Large Telescopes: Which Wavelengths? Retirement Symposium for Arne Ardeberg, 698607 (22 April 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.801258
Show Author Affiliations
Gerard Gilmore, Institute of Astronomy (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6986:
Extremely Large Telescopes: Which Wavelengths? Retirement Symposium for Arne Ardeberg
Torben E. Andersen, Editor(s)

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