When you think of North Wales with its gorgeous scenery and rural communities, images of outer space are decidedly going to be difficult to conjure. gas vlouds

However, with the announcement that scientists from St Asaph could be a part of an amazing project to view the outer reaches of the universe, you may very well see a lot of stargazing going on in the region for the future.

Without doubt, the £900 million giant project could be one of the biggest steps in scientific history and the fact that representatives from the humble Glyndwr University in St. Asaph will be a major factor in its success, the future looks very bright for North Wales as a whole.

Their task will be to be a major asset in the whole process and in particular, the extensive polishing of the mirrors required for the European-Extremely Large Telescope.

You may not think it’s the most suitable name for such a serious venture but it certainly is apt. Measuring in at 16 times more powerful than our current telescopes and with a diameter of 39 metres, this invention is set to dazzle the science world when it’s unveiled in Chile.

As one of the many people responsible for its success, Tony Fox-Leonard was very succinct in his summary of the news.

“Acceptance by European Southern Observatory (ESO) of a Glyndwr University manufactured prototype segment or the proposed European-Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) marks the latest milestone and is a significant achievement for the optical manufacturing industry of the UK,” he said.

Of nationwide relevance down to the government pooling £88million into its success, several companies will be looking on enviously at what a dedicated team from a small area in North Wales have managed.

The great news from this announcement just keeps on coming with the very real possibility of employment opportunities for hundreds of people when the mirrors go into mass production. Whether the £200million contract is won by Wales or the whole of the United Kingdom is to be announced but either way, it can only be a positive for everyone in the country.

Another great leap for Wales and the beautiful north in particular.


“The scale of the universe” by www.flickr.com/photos/paalia/ and “two very different gas clouds” by www.flickr.com/photos/esoastronomy/

License available at creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en_GB

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