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Dainis Dravins

Dainis Dravins

Professor emeritus

Dainis Dravins

Critical science with the largest telescopes: science drivers for a 100m ground-based optical-IR telescope


  • Timothy G. Hawarden
  • Dainis Dravins
  • Gerard F. Gilmore
  • Roberto Gilmozzi
  • Olivier Hainaut
  • K. Kuijken
  • Bruno Leibindgut
  • Michael Merrifield
  • Didier Queloz
  • Rosie Wyse


  • J.R.P Angel
  • R Gilmozzi

Summary, in English

Extremely large filled-aperture ground-based optical-IR telescopes, or ELTs, ranging from 20 to 100m in diameter, are now being proposed. The all-important choice of the aperture must clearly be driven by the potential science offered. We here highlight science goals from the Leiden Workshop in May 2001 suggesting that for certain critical observations the largest possible aperture - assumed to be 100m (theproposed European OverWhelmingly Large telescope (OWL) - is strongly tobe desired. Examples from a long list include: COSMOLOGY: Identifying the first sources of ionisation in the universe, out to z >=14 Identifying and studying the first generation of dusty galaxies More speculatively, observing the formation of the laws of physics, via the evolution of the fundamental physical contants in the very early Universe, by high-resolution spectroscopy of very distant quasars. NEARER GALAXIES: Determining detailed star-formation histories of galaxies out to the Virtgo Cluster, and hence for all major galaxy types (not just those available close to the Local Group of galaxies). THE SOLAR SYSTEM: A 100-m telescope would do the work of a flotilla of fly-by space probes for investigations ranging from the evolution ofplanetary sutfaces and atmospheres to detailed surface spectroscopy of Kuiper Belt Objects. (Such studies could easily occupy it full-time.) EARTHLIKE PLANETS OF NEARBY STARS: A prospect so exciting as perhaps to justify the 100-m telescope on its own, is that of the direct detectionof earthlike planets of solar-type stars by imaging, out to at least 25 parsecs (80 light years) from the sun, followed by spectroscopic and photometric searches for the signature of life on the surfaces of nearer examples.


  • Lund Observatory - Undergoing reorganization

Publishing year







Future Giant Telescopes (Proceedings of the SPIE)



Document type

Conference paper




  • Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology




  • ISBN: 0-8194-4619-X