One more step to being up and ready has been taken by the largest telescope in the world. The Giant Magellan Telescope or GMT has seen work completed on the second mirror segment in a series of seven. The process of building the mirrors began in 2012. The telescope has been made possible by an international effort. It will capture images with 10 times the clarity than those from Hubble Space Telescope. The hope is that the GMT will help scientists answer the big questions in life. Such as if we are alone in the universe or not.
The Development of The Giant Magellan Telescope Is Challenging
The task of completing the telescope is proving to be quite challenging. The on-site construction of the telescope began in 2015 and the estimated time for its completion is 2027. This is because the construction of building its mirrors is far more complex than the actual structure of the telescope.
The second mirror segment took a massive 7 years to complete. But the team at the University of Arizona is now able to complete the polishing process within a lower timeframe. This gives the GMT team hope for a faster build, reducing the estimated time for completion of 2027.
The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) has 7 planned mirrors but it will begin its operation with a total of 4. The operation is led by the US and is being hosted by Chile that will act as the HQ. This is because regions closer to the Equator make for the best site for astronomical observations and spacecraft launches.
The Mirrors of The Giant Magellan Telescope
The wavelength of light is what dictates the design of the telescope mirrors. As each piece is curved to a precise shape as to capture light. The measurements for an accurate build are to one-millionth of an inch.
The complex honeycomb design of the glass of the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) is no mistake as the hollow surface is meant to capture wavelengths of light while being easy to handle and cool.