With the E-ELT astronomers will be able to see fainter objects than ever before. The 40m class mirror should capture enough light to see some of the first galaxies formed in the universe. In addition the images will be much more detailed than the current generation of telescopes, so the E-ELT will be able to separate the light from stars and the planets orbiting them.
Science with the E-ELT (ESO Page)
The first objects in the Universe
Many astronomers in the UK are studying the early universe, trying to work out how the universe we see today formed out of the big bang. There are many unanswered questions. How did galaxies form? Where did the supermassive black holes come from? How fast is the universe expanding, and what is driving it? What were the first stars like? The E-ELT will be able to look at far fainter objects, towards the edge of the universe, than ever before. Because the light from these objects has been travelling for billions of years, we see them as they looked in the past, so we can work out what the universe looked like when it was still very young.
Finding planets around other stars
One of the big questions of humanity is 'are we alone in the universe?'. Astronomers all over the world have been looking around nearby stars, to see if they can find any planets similar to earth. So far over 300 planets have been found, but most of these are made of hot gas, like Jupiter. The E-ELT will produce much sharper images of faint objects, so it will be much easier to find planets around stars.
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