Chile Will Host The World’s Largest Telescope

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SANTIAGO – Chile will have the world’s largest telescope, which is expected to see first light in 2021 and be fully operational by 2024, according to an international project announced today in this capital.

A press statement issued by The Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO), delivered by the Foundation Imagen Chile, said the project represents a complex and precise work to be carried out in La Campana in northern Chile.

The telescope will produce images up to 10 times as sharp as those produced by the Hubble Space Telescope, help research about black hole and identify potentially habitable planets by analyzing their atmosphere in search of biological activity (which is not possible to be done so far), the source added.

The telescope’s 25.4-meter primary mirror will comprise seven separate 8.4-meter diameter segments.

Each mirror segment weighs 17 tons and takes one year to cast and cool, followed by more than three years of surface generation and meticulous polishing.

Other partners involved in the project are: The Australian National University, Carnegie Institution for Science, Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo, Harvard University, Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute, Smithsonian Institution, Texas A&M University, The University of Arizona, The University of Chicago, and The University of Texas at Austin.

So far, collaborators have secured over US$500 million for historic project to build giant optical telescope.

The Giant Magellan Telescope’s seven mirrors span 25 meters and will focus more than six times the amount of light of the current largest optical telescopes. – BERNAMA