Look sharp

about 400 years after Galileo revolutionised the study of the Universe, a telescope will be commissioned on a 2,600-metre peak in northern Chile. This will be a vast improvement on the existing telescope technology. The Very Large Telescope (vlt) will, so obviously, be the largest in the world with a light gathering capacity about 100,000 times that of Galileo's original.

The European Southern Observatory (eso), the agency responsible for building the telescope, selected the site at Cerro Paranal in the Atacama desert of Chile because of its clear, dry air. The place has about 350 clear nights in a year, making it the ideal place for star gazing. It has a very dry atmosphere with very little rainfall