The casting of a giant mirror for the first Giant Magellan Telescope


At the forefront of modern telescopy is the Giant Magellan Telescope, the first device in a new class of ground-based optical instruments appropriately named “Extremely Large Telescopes.”

When the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) becomes operational in the early 2020s, its effective aperture—a way of measuring the optical ‘strength’ of a telescope—will be double the size of the largest optical telescopes operating today. This feat of engineering is largely the result of advances in manufacturing the giant lenses at the heart of the GMT, and no one knows this better than the scientists at the University of Arizona’s Mirror Lab, where astronomers go when they need some serious glass.

I love stories of the mysteries of our universe but equally fascinating to me are stories of how we design and build the devices that let us discover those mysteries.