World's largest telescope to open in Chile

The European Southern Observatory will construct the world’s largest telescope in Chile. They’re calling it the European Extremely Large Telescope, and it’s being constructed in Chile because the night sky there is totally clear some 320 days per year.

The name isn’t just some gimmick. The telescope’s primary mirror will be 138 feet wide, dwarfing other, similarly large telescopes. (One such telescope in Hawaii has a 33-feet wide mirror.)

Any guesses as to how much it costs? I mean, how much is a enthusiast telescope these days? A fancy one will run you maybe in the $100 range (give or take).

Try one billion euros ($1.3 billion). Chump change!

If all goes well, the telescope could be up and running by 2018.