The Giant Magellan Telescope will soon be fully operational, as its groundbreaking took place in the Chilean Andes on Nov. 11.
“With today’s groundbreaking, we take a crucial step forward in our mission to build the first in a new generation of extremely large telescopes,” Dr. Charles Alcock, Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO) board member, said. “The GMT will usher in a new era of discovery and help us to answer some of our most profound questions about the universe. We are pleased to celebrate this momentous milestone with our Chilean colleagues, our international partners and the astronomical community.”
Political officials, university officials and scientists celebrated the groundbreaking on a remote mountain in the Andes. It will be the world’s largest telescope and is set to open for work in 2021.
“We are thrilled to be breaking ground on the Giant Magellan Telescope site at such an exciting time for astronomy,” Dr. Taft Armandroff, director of the McDonald Observatory at the University of Texas, said. “With its unprecedented size and resolving power, the Giant Magellan Telescope will allow current and future generations of astronomers to continue the journey of cosmic discovery.”
The telescope is located in the Atacama Desert in the Andes. It will housed at the Las Campanas Observatory. The telescope will be 85 feet in diameter, and the mirrors inside the telescope will each be 27 feet across.
“An enormous amount of work has gone into the design phase of the project and development of the giant mirrors that are the heart of the telescope,” Patrick McCarthy, interim president of GMTO, said. “The highest technical risks have been retired, and we are looking forward to bringing the components of the telescope together on the mountain top.”
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