Profile on Gran Telescopio Canarias, The worlds largest optical telescope:
When it comes to observing events in space we are generally limited to just a few types of telescopes on Earth. While many of the top images are captured by infrared and radio style telescopes, there are also optical telescopes that can capture stunning images of the stars, planets and other cosmic events.
One of the world's largest optical telescopes is located in the Canary Islands. It can be found in LA Palma and it has a reflecting area of 10.4 m or 34 feet. This telescope may not sound like an extreme sized imaging device but it can view some amazing events. As one of the world's most advanced optical telescopes it can be used to monitor remote planetary systems, produce images of galaxies, nebulas and even view black holes. No other optical telescope in the world is currently capable of this type of advanced imagery.
The GTC does currently hold the title of the largest optical telescope but a European company is also working on a telescope that could overtake it one day. The European made extremely large telescope is planned for release in the year 2020. The E-ELT will have a viewing area that's close to 40 m or 131 feet in diameter. When this telescope is completed we will finally have tools that will allow us to study our universe in an even greater level of detail than we have previously.
For now, the GTC in the Canary Islands will continue to reign supreme over other optical telescopes in the world. It has presented us with images of our galaxy that are extremely stunning for the type of technology that we have available at the time. Apart from the Hubble telescope, this remains one of the best tools on earth for quality imagery of our solar system and beyond.