All systems go for construction of world's largest optical telescope
The construction of the largest optical telescope ever has moved closer today, with $500 million in funding now committed from 11 international partners. Set to be the world's biggest and most powerful, the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) is constructed from seven huge mirrors that will span a total of 25.4-meters.
It is also claimed that the instrument will be able to resolve images up to ten times more clearly than the space-based Hubble telescope. Set to sit high atop a hillside in Chile at the current site of the Las Campanas Observatory above the Atacama desert, the remote location and haze and light pollution free skies will allow the GMT the best chance to employ its incredible imaging capabilities.
With scientific partners including Australia, Brazil, Chile, Korea and the United States, the massive instrument, which will be housed in a 22-story high rotating building, is slated to take its first tentative image of the heavens by 2021 and become fully operational by 2024. At a cost estimated to be around US$1 billion dollars, this enormous eye on the sky has great things expected of it.
"The GMT will herald the beginning of a new era in astronomy," said chair of the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO) Board of Directors, Wendy Freedman. "It will reveal the first objects to emit light in the universe, explore the mysteries of dark energy and dark matter, and identify potentially habitable planets in the Earth’s galactic neighborhood."
Giant Magellan Telescope