Explainer: Coolest next-gen telescopes

  • ESO

    Scientists are excited about the next-gen telescopes expected to come online in the next decade -- instruments like the European Extremely Large Telescope. The much-anticipated ELT will be 42 meters wide -- four times bigger than any in existence. It is slated to go online by 2020. Click on the "Next" label to learn more about other big telescopes.

  • Atacama Large Millimeter Array


    The Atacama Large Millimeter Array will be comprised of a giant array of 12-meter submillimeter quality antennas that can detect objects more distant than any existing instrument. Construction of ALMA started in 2003 and science operations begin in 2011.

  • The James Webb Telescope


    The James Webb Telescope is an infrared space observatory set to launch in 2014 as a replacement for Hubble. It will be able to spot smaller planets, and also measure their atmospheric signatures, their temperatures and sizes.

  • The Terrestrial Planet Finder


    The Terrestrial Planet Finder observatories was designed to detect Earth-sized planets outside our solar system. The mission is currently on hold due to lack of funding.


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