The world’s gigantic telescope is one step closer to completion. This month, the crew working on the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) completed the second of seven primary mirror segments, a process that started in January 2012.
The GMT is a worldwide effort to create a telescope that delivers images ten times more distinct than those produced by the Hubble Space Telescope. When it is up and running, the GMT will assist scientists to tackle among the most critical questions, like are we alone in the universe? It can allow astronomers to collect extra light than any telescope ever built and on the highest resolutions yet.
However, accomplishing this is no simple task. In 2015 the team broke ground, and the telescope is not anticipated to be complete until 2027. That is partly due to the complexity of the mirrors. Each primary segment is curved to an exact form and polished to within a wavelength of light — about one-millionth of an inch. And because of an intricate honeycomb mold, the completed glass is mostly hollow, making it lightweight and simpler to cool.
Whereas this second section took seven years, the University of Arizona was in a position to considerably pace up the first-floor sprucing course of. The GMT group hopes replicating the technique will help future segments get through production even faster.
The Giant Magellan Telescope shall be one member of the next generation of giant ground-based telescopes that promises to transform our view and understanding of the universe. It will be constructed in the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. Commissioning of the telescope is scheduled to start in 2027.