Mountaintop Blasting Begins for Giant Magellan Telescope

Posted on March 24, 2012

Giant Magellan Telescope rendering

Blasting of 3 million cubic feet of rock from a mountaintop in the Chilean Andes has begun to make room for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), which will be the world's largest telescope when it will be completed. The telescope will be finished by the end of this decade.

The huge telescope will feature seven primary mirrors, each weighing 20 tons. This will provide nearly 4,000 square feet of light-gathering area.

Giant Magellan Telescope Mirrors artists rendering

The Carnegie Institution for Science says the GMT will "have unprecedented capabilities, allowing it to peer back to the dawn of time, witnessing the birth of the first stars, galaxies and black holes, while also exploring planetary systems similar to our own around nearby stars in the Milky Way. The GMT will help astronomers probe the nature of dark matter and dark energy, mysterious forms of matter and energy that allow galaxies to form while the expansion of the universe accelerates."

Here a video of the start of the mountaintop blasting:

Images: Giant Magellan Telescope Organization