Explainer: Coolest next-gen telescopes
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.