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Space Science Technology

Magellan Telescope First Mega-Mirror Polished and Ready 39

coondoggie writes "One of the six giant — 27 feet across, 20 ton — circular mirrors that will be part of the 4,000 sq. ft., Giant Magellan Telescope that ultimately look for stars, galaxies and black holes has been polished and completed — now for the other five. The mirrors will form the heart of the 25-meter Giant Magellan Telescope, and when complete will provide more than 380 square meters, or 4,000 square feet, of light-collecting area." This is a big project, not just a big mirror. From the article: "At the Carnegie Institution for Science's Las Campanas Observatory in northern Chile, earthmovers are completing the removal of 4 million cubic feet of rock to produce a flat platform for the telescope and its supporting buildings. The telescope is scheduled to come online in about 10 years.
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Magellan Telescope First Mega-Mirror Polished and Ready

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  • Re:smudgy fingers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @11:56AM (#41765729) Homepage Journal

    No way they keep that thing clean and polished for 10 years... some jerk is gonna walk over there and wipe his finger on it. guaranteed

    No problem if a jerk does, there's an easy way to clean it - First Contact []

    Spray on, dry, peel off.

    Used by NASA and JPL.

  • Re:10 years!?! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Thursday October 25, 2012 @12:02PM (#41765853) Homepage Journal

    I'm wonder why anyone would even bother putting a telescope on the planet at this point

    It's cheaper.

    Further, with corrective optics they get amazing results. I'm a member of the Santa Cruz Astronomy Club and we have been lucky enough to have some great speakers come in from US Santa Cruz (who manage some large earthbound telescopes, including Keck on Mauna Kea, Hawaii) Directing a laser into the atmosphere allows them to correct a high percentage of anomalies, obtaining some much improved results over non-adaptive optics. This technology has given new life to old optical scopes, further cost far less than adding yet another spaceborne scope, which may lauch correctly, may deploy correctly and may work for a sufficient amount of time to justify the costs of everything, including the team using it. UCSC also does some amazing work with mirrors, polishing to molecular uniformity and applying coatings a molecule in thickness. Amazing stuff.

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM