Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
The Very Large Telescope and the (European) Extremely Large Telescope are two existing telescopes in observatories. The Overwhelmingly Large Telescope was another planned telescope that as the comic mentions, was cancelled. The comic pokes fun at the generic nature of the names of the telescopes by proposing more generic but increasingly ridiculous names for future telescopes.
The title text talks about the Thirty Meter Telescope, which is under construction on Mauna Kea (a dormant volcano), Hawai'i, and seems to compare it to the Eye of Sauron. It is expected to be the most advanced and powerful optical telescope on Earth when completed.
(A list of checkboxes are given. First three in the list are checked)
- The Very Large Telescope
- The Extremely Large Telescope
- The Overwhelmingly Large Telescope (Canceled)
- The Oppressively Colossal Telescope
- The Mind-numbingly Vast Telescope
- The Despair Telescope
- The Cataclysmic Telescope
- The Telescope of Devastation
- The Nightmare Scope
- The Infinite Telescope
- The Final Telescope
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Historically, one of the first times the issue was raised on the internet was this Slashdot article, where the name BFT was first proposed in 2000. Did Randall know it? 188.8.131.52 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
The "Final Telescope" aka "James Webb Space Telescope". 184.108.40.206 11:01, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
How could he leave off the Giant Magellan Telescope? Matchups (talk) 14:13, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
Does anyone think the latter names are a nod to Doctor Who? The Nightmare Child, the Plains of Devastation, etc. 220.127.116.11 17:48, 22 November 2013 (UTC)
The infinite is the size of the univers. Still there is a final after that ;-) Kynde (talk) 19:28, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
Just a note concerning the cancelled 'Overwhelmingly Large Telescope' (=OWL): Today OWL means „Once Was Large“ because it is replaced by the ELT 18.104.22.168 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
- Similar topic
a short piece in SCIAM many years ago, where a well known physicist
ironicly discussed the wish/planning/building of ever bigger colliders.
Among the biggest of them, the "final collider" was described
as having a diameter about the dimension of galaxy clusters.
22.214.171.124 22:28, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
- The "Infinite" and "Final Telescopes" may be a poke at the Infinite Crisis and Final Crisis crossover events in the DC Comics... --Koveras (talk) 10:43, 9 December 2013 (UTC)