LA SILLA, Chile, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- The European Southern Observatory's Council announced Thursday the construction of the world's largest telescope has been approved.
The European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), as it's currently called, will be built in the Atacama Desert in Chile, on top of a mountain named Cerro Armazones.
The desert is known for having one of the clearest views of the night sky, due to lack of clouds, dry air and no light pollution.
"The decision taken by Council means that the telescope can now be built, and that major industrial construction work for the E-ELT is now funded and can proceed according to plan," said Tim de Zeeuw, ESO's Director General. "There is already a lot of progress in Chile on the summit of Armazones and the next few years will be very exciting."
It is the "most powerful of all the extremely large telescope projects currently planned," he said.
The approval only applies to the first phase of construction, and talks regarding the second phase will begin at the end of 2015.
Construction is expected to reach completion in 2024, and the telescope will feature a light-collecting surface 128 feet wide.