Giant Telescope Mirror-Making
Staff members at the University of Arizona's Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab recently began making the fifth mirror for the Giant Magellan Telescope, a huge telescope under construction in Chile's Atacama Desert to peer deep into the universe. Read our full story here.
When complete, the telescope will use seven giant mirrors and one spare to create the equivalent of an 80-foot (25 m) focusing surface. See photos of the mirror #5 casting here.
Completed Furnace for GMT Mirror 5
The completed furnace for the Giant Magellan Telescope’s (GMT) fifth primary mirror, at the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab at the University of Arizona. Individual ceramic cores are placed to create a mold into which the glass will flow.
Completed Mirror Mold
The completed mold for GMT mirror number 5’s casting. Each unique core has an identifying number.
Glass on the Conveyor
The Mirror Lab casting crew puts boxes of Ohara low-expansion E6 glass on the conveyor to the GMT mirror 5 furnace.
Glass on the Conveyor: Side View
Side view of glass on the conveyor.
First Pieces of Glass Laid for GMT Mirror 5
Mirror Lab staff lay the first pieces of glass on the mold for GMT mirror 5.
First Glass Layer for GMT Mirror 5
Mirror Lab staff put down the first layer of glass for GMT mirror 5.
Laying Glass: Close Up
Blocks of Ohara low-expansion E6 glass are carefully placed onto GMT mirror 5’s mold.
Laying Glass: Side View
Another view of staff placing glass chunks into GMT mirror 5’s mold.
The honeycomb pattern of GMT mirror 5’s mold is clearly visible in this shot.
A Closer Look
A look across the top of the glass chunks in mirror 5’s mold.
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Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with Space.com and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.