The University of Arizona

Giant Magellan Milestone

Harvard Magazine August 2013 | In Tucson’s late summer heat, under the steeply raked eastern stands of the University of Arizona Stadium (“Home of the Wildcats”), technicians at the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab this past weekend cast the third enormous mirror for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), planned to be the world’s largest and scheduled for partial operation by decade’s end. Although the telescope is designed to have six 8.4-meter (27.5-foot) asymmetrical mirrors ringing a seventh, central mirror once in full operation, astronomers from Harvard and a worldwide consortium of partner institutions will be able to begin observations as soon as the end of the decade, when four mirrors will be in place. (For a full account of the GMT project’s development and scientific potential, see “Seeing Stars” from Harvard Magazine.)  more>