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UArizona Giant Magellan Telescope getting closer to completion

Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 11:36 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The University of Arizona is helping produce the world’s biggest and most advanced telescope mirrors.

On Friday, Mar. 5, school officials will provide an update on the Giant Magellan Telescope.

The gigantic furnace will slowly start spinning underneath the stands of Arizona Stadium. Fire-engine red, massive in size, and resembling a sci-fi version of a Dutch oven, the furnace is the only one of its kind.

UArizona Giant Magellan Telescope
UArizona Giant Magellan Telescope(Source: University of Arizona)

According to a news release, nearly 20 tons of extremely pure borosilicate glass will become a honeycomb mirror measuring 27.6 feet across. The mirror is the sixth of seven segments that together will make up the primary mirror of the Giant Magellan Telescope, currently under construction in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

The telescope will see farther into the universe and capture more detail than any optical telescope before.

Due to the primary mirror’s large size and deep curvature, the shape of each outer segment is unlike any mirror ever made and required major innovations for polishing and measuring the surface.

Spin-casting is the first step of a four-year process to create each mirror. The other steps are carried out in other parts of the Mirror Lab, so up to four mirror segments can be manufactured in parallel.

For more information about the Giant Magellan Telescope, visit gmto.org.

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