Thursday, Oct 20, 2016
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Forget Hubble

Sometime after 2020, the Giant Magellan Telescope will peer into deep space and back into time from a peak in Chile. The telescope will collect more light than its predecessors, and achieve resolution once thought possible only from space. Its optics will be a quantum leap beyond the Hubble Space Telescope’s once cutting-edge technology.

The third of Magellan’s seven primary mirrors is being built. The mirrors are 27 feet across and weigh 20 tons; each takes a year to polish and grind.

Magellan will be capable of detecting Earth-size planets outside the solar system. It will spot black holes, observe the earliest galaxies, and plumb the nature of dark matter and dark energy — all from an earthly desert peak.

Designed and built by a nonprofit, Magellan is part of a network of new telescopes that will help humanity understand the nature of the universe. Galileo would be proud.

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