| LEGO is a great tool to attract the attention of a broad audience. This Picture of the Day shows ESO's European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), as built entirely from LEGO bricks. It is on a 1:150 scale, contains over 5200 pieces and includes all the 798 mirror segments exactly as the real one. The model was designed by NOVA-and-University Leiden astronomer Frans Snik, who used dedicated LEGO CAD software for designing it.
Six astronomical instrument fanatics needed altogether 10 hours for assembling it. The model includes all proposed instruments for the E-ELT, among them MICADO and METIS for which the NOVA Optical IR Instrumentation Group will develop important contributions (of course related to the real telescope). The very first model built by Snik was donated to ESO's Director General Tim de Zeeuw, and stands now in his office.
The shown model of the E-ELT was on display at the ASTRON open day early this month, generating much excitement among the younger visitors (and their parents). Also recently, the same model played a dominant role at the signing of the NOVA-ESO agreement for the construction of the METIS instrument, of which NOVA will be the PI institute, on September 28 in Leiden.
For LEGO freaks: an instruction how to build this telescope yourself, together with a part list, can be downloaded from the ESO website: http://www.eso.org/public/announcements/ann14071/
Construction of the full size E-ELT started in June 2014, in the Chilean Atacama desert, and will take about 10 years for completion.
Photo courtesy Jan Noordam & ASTRON