IEEE Spectrum is the flagship publication of the IEEE — the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences. Our articles, podcasts, and infographics inform our readers about developments in technology, engineering, and science.
Enjoy more free content and benefits by creating an account
Saving articles to read later requires an IEEE Spectrum account
The Institute content is only available for members
Downloading full PDF issues is exclusive for IEEE Members
Access to Spectrum's Digital Edition is exclusive for IEEE Members
Following topics is a feature exclusive for IEEE Members
Adding your response to an article requires an IEEE Spectrum account
Create an account to access more content and features on IEEE Spectrum, including the ability to save articles to read later, download Spectrum Collections, and participate in conversations with readers and editors. For more exclusive content and features, consider Joining IEEE.
Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, archives, PDF downloads, and other benefits. Learn more →
This piece of equipment, which at first glance looks like a turntable designed for a 10-meter-tall DJ, is actually part of what the Deggendorf University of Applied Sciences in Teisnach, Germany, is calling the largest optical machine in the world. The finished product will make the large specialized mirrors needed for the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in northern Chile. The main mirror for ESO’s E-ELT telescope will have a diameter of 39.3 meters.
If you are viewing this page with an iPad or iPhone, click here to launch the slideshow:
Willie Jones is an associate editor at IEEE Spectrum. In addition to editing and planning daily coverage, he manages several of Spectrum's newsletters and contributes regularly to the monthly Big Picture section that appears in the print edition.