US universities are funding a ground-based telescope with the most biggest mirrors ever. The Giant Magellan Telescope will be the most powerful optical telescope in the world, with the most giant mirrors ever produced for this purpose. With more than 200 million dollars, its construction in Chile will now accelerate.
A new ground-based optical telescope with the world’s most oversized single mirrors, and one of the biggest science projects right now, has received early-stage funding to speed up construction.
Its name is the Giant Magellan Telescope, and it is the first in a series of telescopes of a new generation of huge telescopes that astronomers worldwide are planning to build.
The project recently received a fresh financial injection in the amount of 205 million dollars. The investors are part of an international consortium, and the funding is led by the American universities of Harvard, Texas, Arizona, Chicago, Carnegie, and the FAPESP São Paulo research foundation.
Stronger than James Webb
The new investment will enable the continuation and acceleration of work on the construction of this telescope, which will be located on the territory of the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile.
It is announced that from this location, astronomers will be able to see further into space than ever with any optical telescope made to date, which includes the James Webb. Namely, the Giant Magellan Telescope will have 10 times the surface area for collecting light than Webb and four times the resolution.
According to announcements, it will be even 200 times more powerful than existing scientific telescopes on Earth.
The plan is for this telescope to “collaborate” with Webb, so after this space telescope identifies individual targets, the new GMT should be able to further investigate them and study the chemical composition and physical characteristics of some of the darkest objects visible in the sky.
This should enable the discovery of potentially habitable planets, the study of the formation process of early galaxies, and help in uncovering the secrets of dark matter and dark energy, black holes, and the origin of the entire universe.
Six of the seven segments of the primary mirror have already been cast in Tucson (Arizona, USA), and three have already gone through a two-year polishing and refinement process. The total diameter of these mirrors will be 25.5 meters, each segment is 8.5 meters in diameter, and the whole area for collecting light is as much as 368 m2.
According to these characteristics, this will be the third largest telescope in the world, after the Extremely Large Telescope and the Thirty Meter Telescope, which use many smaller mirror segments. The first observations of the Giant Magellan Telescope should begin by the end of this decade.