Today, sometime after 12:30 pm Eastern, the top of a mountain in Chile will explode.
And thanks to the wonder that is the internet, you can watch it happen live.
This explosion isn't part of a mining project or the development of a sprawling city. It’s the groundbreaking of the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). The E-ELT is going to be, as its name suggests, extremely large. The primary mirror of the telescope will have a diameter of 39 meters (nearly 128 feet), and will be the largest optical/infrared telescope in the world when it is complete.
The mountain that will lose its top today, the Cerro Armazones, was chosen as the site of the E-ELT because it has near ideal conditions for viewing. Also, the European Southern Observatory, which is building the E-ELT, already has a base there, with three observatories and multiple telescopes, including the Very Large Telescope (VLT). The Very Large Telescope is actually a very large array of telescopes, with main mirrors of 8.2 meters (almost 27 feet). But it will be dwarfed by its neighbor once the E-ELT is complete.