Planned Giant Telescope Gets Huge Cash Flow

View of the Magellan Telescope in action in Chile.

The group building the Giant Magellan Telescope in Chile has secured a $205 million investment that will help push construction of the massive instrument to the finish line. The money will go to the facility that will house the telescope at the Las Campanas Observatory in the Atacama Desert in Chile.

When complete, the telescope will be 83 feet wide and have 10 times the light-gathering area and four times the spatial resolution Web Space Telescopeaccording to Release From the Giant Magellan Telescope. (For comparison, the Webb Telescope has a diameter of about 21 feet.) The Atacama desert is a popular place Earth observatories because of its distance, altitude, and clear sky.

According to GMTO, The telescope will examine the atmospheres of exoplanets and early galaxies and probe the nature and roles of dark matter and dark energy in the history of the universe. New investment of $205 million comes from international Federation of Institutions That supports the project, a group that includes Harvard University, the University of Arizona, the Carnegie Institution for Science, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Chicago and the São Paulo Research Foundation.

Part of the innovation of the Giant Magellan Telescope is the use of adaptive optics, for which you will need adaptive secondary mirrors. Adaptive optics is a technology that mitigates the effects of atmospheric fluctuations (the same fluctuations that cause stars to twinkle from the perspective of ground-based observers).

View of the seven primary mirrors of the Giant Magellan Telescope.

“The idea of ​​adaptive optics is that you’re using a deformable mirror that can literally vibrate,” Rebecca Bernstein, an astronomer at the Carnegie Institution for Science and chief scientist for the Giant Magellan Telescope, told Gizmodo in June. “You can distort that mirror to allow the light reflected from it to get rid of the aberrations caused by the atmosphere.”

“This allows us to have perfect uninterrupted illumination … very close to what you get when you’re above the atmosphere,” added Bernstein.

With adaptive optics system, Giant Magellan will effectively correct for atmospheric aberrations in real time while observing the universe.

The telescope’s first light is expected by the end of the decade. Currently, six of the telescope’s seven primary mirrors have been cast. The 40,000-square-foot facility needed to build the telescope housing structure has been completed. giant The first adaptive secondary mirror of Magellan is under construction in Europe.

Along with the Webb Space Telescope (and possibly a few others, in case the funding is secured to become a reality), the giant Magellan TThe telescope will help astronomers, astrophysicists and planetary scientists see the universe much clearer than was possible with previous generations of telescopes.

More: These telescopes will change the way we see space

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