Giant telescope venture snags huge investment

Daytime interior rendering of the telescope viewing platform. Image credit: Giant Magellan Telescope – GMTO Corporation.

By Mike Sunnucks | Rose Law Group Reporter

A giant, 12-story telescope being built in Chile — which has significant Arizona ties — has received a $205 million investment to help its construction.

The Giant Magellan Telescope is a $1 billion venture that includes the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, Harvard University, Texas A&M University, the Smithsonian Institution and the Weizmann Institute in Israel. They are part of the international consortium supporting the program.

Former UA president Robert Shelton is president of the Giant Magellan Telescope  effort.

The $205 million investment will help build the giant telescope and outfit it with the “world’s largest mirrors.

The University of Arizona, Carnegie Institution for Science, Harvard and the universities of Texas and Chicago were among the leading financial donors for the $205 million haul.

The telescope’ structure is being built by Ingersoll Machine Tools in Illinois. Its seven huge mirrors are being developed at the University of Arizona’s Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab.

“We are honored to receive this investment in our future,” said Shelton. “The funding is truly a collaborative effort from our Founders. It will result in the fabrication of the world’s largest mirrors, the giant telescope mount that holds and aligns them, and a science instrument that will allow us to study the chemical evolution of stars and planets like never before.”

The giant structure will be located in Chile and will be 200 times more powerful than existing research telescopes.

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