Watch The Top of A Mountain Be Blown Up Live

The future site of the European Extremely Large Telescope will be leveled this morning

Cerro Armazones
ESO/S. Brunier

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. 

The E-ELT is expected to start work in the early 2020s, once construction is complete. It will be looking for other life in the universe, and at how the early universe was formed.

In addition to the livestream, you can get updates and news on the blast on Twitter, Facebook and ESO’s website.

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