Arizona Mirror Lab Wins Contracts
The University of Arizona's Steward Observatory Mirror Laboratory in Tucson and Carnegie Observatories of Pasadena, Calif., have agreed to produce the first mirror segment for the Giant Magellan Telescope. The laboratory is expected to cast the 8.4-m mirror this summer. The device will be the first of six identical outer segments, all arranged around a central element.
The telescope, which is scheduled for completion in 2016, will be located at Carnegie Observatories' site in Las Campanas, Chile. The tool will be used to study the big bang, the nature of dark matter and energy, the formation of black holes and the planets that have formed around other stars in the Milky Way. Other partners in the project are Harvard and Texas A&M universities, Smithsonian Astrophysical Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Universities of Michigan and Texas at Austin.
The laboratory also has received a $2.3 million contract from LSST Corp. of Tucson to purchase the glass for the 8.4-m-diameter main mirror of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and to begin engineering work on the device. The award covers the first phase in an estimated $13.8 million project to design, cast, polish and integrate the mirror into the telescope support cell. The proposed ground-based instrument is expected to map the visible sky rapidly and continuously, providing data on the universe.
- A smooth, highly polished surface, for reflecting light, that may be plane or curved if wanting to focus and or magnify the image formed by the mirror. The actual reflecting surface is usually a thin coating of silver or aluminum on glass.
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