Monday 9 May, 2011

Extremely Large Telescopes

Prof. Jason Spyromilio, Head of the European Extremely Large Telescope Project Office, European Southern Observatory

The science and engineering needed to make a telescope that has a primary mirror 10 times the size of world’s largest telescope is truly astronomical. Such telescopes, costing in excess of 1 billion Euro, are currently being designed in both Europe and the United States.

This month Prof. Jason Spyromilio, who heads the European Southern Observatory’s Extremely Large Telescope Project, will present the most ambitious of these designs – an optical telescope with a 42 meter primary mirror!

The European ELT will be over 10,000 times more powerful than any telescope in Australia, and be able to image planets in other stellar systems and observe the expansion of the universe directly amongst many other scientific objectives.

  • Time: 6:30pm to 7:30pm (Doors open at 6pm)
  • Venue: Long Room, Customs House at Riverside
  • Refreshments: There will be complimentary drinks and nibblies following the talk, where Prof. Jason Spyromilio will be available to answer any questions
  • Questions? Contact Andrew (

Jason Spyromilio completed his PhD at Imperial College London then took a SERC research fellowship (1989-1991). He joined the AAO (now the Australian Astronomical Observatory) in 1991, where he was the instrument scientist for a number of AAT instruments (and is remembered for augmenting one of them with a Lego train set). He moved to ESO in 1994. He has headed the European Extremely Large Telescope Project Office since 2006 and was the director of ESO’s La Silla Paranal Observatory 2005-2007. Prof. Spyromilio’s main research interest is supernovae (exploding stars), but he has also worked on comets, brown dwarfs and other cosmic phenomena.


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