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Science

Extremely Large Telescope Astronomer To Speak In Wyoming Stargazing Event

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Wyoming Stargazing, an astronomy non-profit, is hosting a free online speaker series this spring and summer. The next featured speaker is Suzanne Ramsay from the European Southern Observatory in Munich.

Ramsay is the instrumentation project manager for the Extremely Large Telescope, which will have a mirror that's 39 meters across when it's finished being built.

"The current telescopes that astronomers use around the world are—the largest ones for the optical and infrared astronomy that we're talking about—they're eight to ten meters in diameter," she said. "It's a huge jump in size."

Ramsay said that increase in size helps astronomers see fainter and more distant objects.

"The bigger the telescope gets, the more detail you can see, so you can see smaller objects," she said. "That lets us do a whole bunch of other kinds of astronomy, including things like looking for planets which are orbiting stars other than our Sun."

The Extremely Large Telescope is being built in Chile and is on track to begin operations in 2026.

Ramsay will speak more about the technology and its potential discoveries in the upcoming speaker series called: The World Above the Tetons on Sunday May 9. Information can be found on the Wyoming Stargazing website.

Have a question about this story? Please contact the reporter, Ashley Piccone, at apiccone@uwyo.edu.

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