WATCH: Mountaintop Explosion

Chile's Cerro Armazones to host world's largest telescope

Jun 19, 2014
Outside Magazine
Chile telescope explosion European Extremely Large Telesc

Chile Mountain Explosion    Ars Electronica/flickr

Yesterday, the Chilean national football team blasted Spain out of the World Cup. Today, a similarly destructive fate awaits the peak of a Chilean mountain—and, like the World Cup, you can watch it live, starting at 12:30 EST.

The top of Chile's Cerro Armazones (elevation 9,482 feet) will be blasted off to make room for the largest optical and infrared telescope in the world. 

The European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) will be constructed on the resulting plateau. According to the Guardian, the E-ELT will take a decade to build and is scheduled for completion in 2024, at which time astronomers will point it toward planets in other solar systems.

"We want to study the atmospheres of planets that are just the right distance from their stars that life might form on their surfaces," says astronomer Joe Liske. "The goal is to try to say whether life might exist on some of these planets."