This year’s highly anticipated bimetallic niobium and silver from the Austrian Mint features “Cosmology” and will be issued today. It fittingly illuminates the new year with two colours: blue and gold. Cosmology connects all the parts of the universe as a whole, and follows the evolution of it from beginning to end. The blue and gold colours of the Cosmology coin are not the result of colours applied to the coin but rather the refraction of light on an extremely thin, transparent oxide layer.
The reverse of the coin features the “European Extremely Large Telescope” or E-ELT that is scheduled for completion in 2022. This will be the largest telescope ever, anywhere in the world, and will feature a 39 metre, or almost 130 foot mirror at its base. It will be four times larger than any telescope currently in use. The details of the telescope on the coin overlap from the outer silver ring into the blue niobium core. Some of the planets known to us such as Jupiter are detailed in the design. The European side of earth is also detailed on the coin.
The obverse illustrates the all-encompassing field of cosmology, i.e. the whole galaxy: planets, stars, satellites, deep space and everything therein. This side of the coin also bears the country of issue “Republik Oesterreich” Republic of Austria, the face value of 25 euros and the year of issue 2015.
Both sides of this coin were designed and engraved by Mint engraver Helmut Andexlinger.
Cosmology brings together the evolution of the universe, beginning with the “Big Bang” of some 10 billion years ago. The Big Bang led to the expansion of the universe, radiation, light elements and the formation of galaxies and large structures. A great deal of this study involves complex physics and mathematics. Sir Isaac Newton, a former Mint Master himself was key in advancing this complex field of study.
The European Southern Observatory or ESO headquartered near Munich Germany, is the intergovernmental scientific and technology organization currently operating Large Telescopes or LT’s and VLT’s or Very Large Telescopes in the Atacama Desert and Paranal areas along the west coast of Chile, north of Santiago. It is the most productive observatory in the world. Every year many of proposals are received by the ESO that would require at least four times the number of nights available.
The E-ELT or European Extremely Large Telescope has been called “the world’s biggest eye on the sky.” One of the key objectives of the E-ELT is to find other earth-like planets, while also looking at the formation and demise of stars, planetary systems and planets themselves. It will be located in the Amazonas region of the Atacama Desert at an altitude of 3000 metres or almost 10,000 feet. Its very large mirror will capture more than 15 times more light, which will allow for the imaging of rocky structures or exoplanets as well as their atmospheres. Construction of the E-ELT began at the beginning of 2014 and is estimated to cost more than 1 billion euros.
This new two-coloured coin is minted to a maximum of 65,000 pieces in Special Uncirculated quality only. The coin contains 9 grams of 900 Fine Silver in its outer ring and 6.5 grams of 998 pure niobium, and has a total diameter of 34 mm. Each piece is encapsulated, boxed and comes complete with a numbered certificate guaranteeing its authenticity