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The University of Arizona recently celebrated the newly renamed Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab, part of Steward Observatory and the College of Science, and casts the fourth of the Giant Magellan Telescope's (GMT) primary mirror segments. The mirror lab was renamed in honor of Interface's founder, Mr. Caris, who donated $20 million to the University to support their partnership in the construction of the GMT.
The glass for the 8.4m diameter mirror is in the process of being melted in a rotating oven.
Mirror fabrication occurs in 3 stages:
1. Cast the mirror blank by melting glass in a rotating mold;
2. Perform rough grinding of the front and back surfaces;
3. Polish the front surface to optical tolerances.
The second and third mirror segments for the telescope are currently being polished at the mirror lab.
The GMT is projected to be commissioned in 2021 at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. The super-sized telecopes will revolutionize our view and understanding of the universe. The GMT will have a resolving power 10 times greater than the Hubble Space Telescope.
More information on the mirror fabrication process can be found on the GMT website.