The Giant Magellan Telescope Corporation announced that construction is underway after collecting guarantees amounting to $500 million from contributions in its 11 international partners, on Wednesday.
The seven large mirrors of GMT are polished and cast at Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab of the University of Arizona. It is slated to operate from the Andean bases in Chile at the Las Campanas Observatory with a completion target for 2021.
Director of Steward Observatory and UA Department of Astronomy, Buell Jannuzi said that he is happy to reach such an “important milestone.”
$60 million was committed by the UA to the project and $34 million was already transferred, including a $20 M gift from Richard F. Caris, Jannuzi said, aiming for an eventual double of its commitment.
3 of the 7 mirrors of the gigantic scope was cast to combine in order to form a single surface to gather light, producing a more than 80-feet long mirror.
The Sao Pãolo state, Carnegie Institution for Science, Australian National Univ, Smithsonian Institution, University of Harvard, Univ of Texas of Austin, Texas A&M Univ, Korean and Australian national institutions and Univ of Chicago are the partners of UA in this endeavor.
The GMT is the first of the three planned large telescopes in the decades to come.
The European Southern Observatory intents to build a 39M scope dubbed the European Extremely Large Telescope, which is also in Chile.