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Rising more than 10,000 feet above the world's driest non-polar desert, the Cerro Armazones mountain provides astronomers a crystal-clear view of the stars. That is why they blew it up on Thursday afternoon — at least the top of it. After the explosion, construction of the appropriately named European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) will begin in Chile's Atacama Desert. The European Southern Observatory (ESO), a research organization made up of 15 countries, claims it will be the biggest optical/near-infrared telescope in the world and will provide insight on "planets around other stars, the first objects in the universe, supermassive black holes, and the nature and distribution of the dark matter and dark energy which dominate the universe."
- Hubble Space Telescope Seeks New Targets for Pluto Probe
- Big Bangs: Asteroids Strike Earth More Often Than We Think
- Why Chile is an astronomer's paradise (BBC News)
- Keith Wagstaff, NBC News