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The universe awaits

The Year in Photos 2023

Blog Construction
December 20, 2023

2023 was a year of construction milestones for the Giant Magellan Telescope. We cast our seventh and final 8.4-meter primary mirror and began fabricating the 39-meter-tall mount structure that will support and control the giant mirrors.

This is our story of 2023 told visually.


Credit: Oscar Contreras-Villarroel, Giant Magellan Telescope – GMTO Corporation

Congreso Futuro hosted their Seventh Annual “Without Real Limit” event in Chile with an array of subject matter experts speaking on the exploration of what inspires us. The event featured 34 international speakers, including Giant Magellan Telescope Chief Scientist Rebecca Bernstein.


Credit: Damien Jemison, Giant Magellan Telescope — GMTO Corporation

At the University of Arizona and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, we are validating key aspects of telescope phasing and adaptive optics in the construction of two laboratory bench testbeds, including the construction of a natural guide star wavefront sensor prototype to be integrated into one of the testbeds, the high contrast adaptive optics testbed.


Credit: OHB Digital Connect GmbH

OHB Italia S.p.A finished manufacturing and testing the first of seven mirror covers for the Giant Magellan Telescope. In just over two minutes, the covers will deploy and retract in unison to protect the world’s largest mirrors when they’re not in use.


Credit: Giant Magellan Telescope – GMTO Corporation

Commemorating 200 years of diplomatic relations with Chile and the U.S., Giant Magellan Telescope President Robert N. Shelton visited Santiago to meet with diplomatic officials including Chile’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alberto Van Klaveren, Minister of Science, Aisen Etcheverry, and Ambassador of the U.S., Bernadette Meehan.


Credit: Giant Magellan Telescope – GMTO Corporation

In partnership with Antenna Foundation, the Giant Magellan Telescope launched its first digital art contest, Extrasolar. The open call was promoted in public spaces, including the Metro de Santiago, for Chilean and Chile based artists to submit their digital creations of exoplanets.


Credit: Giant Magellan Telescope – GMTO Corporation

Las Campanas Observatory, the Giant Magellan Telescope, and the US Embassy in Chile hosted a workshop in La Serena to promote women’s STEM careers among girls in the Chilean fourth region. The workshop overviewed professional development in astronomy and computer science.


Credit: Giant Magellan Telescope — GMTO Corporation

Manufacturing of the telescope structure (or mount) that holds and positions the Giant Magellan Telescope’s seven giant mirrors began at Ingersoll Machine Tools in Rockford, Illinois. Large steel welding and machine fabrication of major components for the rotating telescope structure are now in progress.


Credit: Pablo Izquierdo

Scientists from the Giant Magellan Telescope and artist Jeff Koons led an engaging excursion to Chile’s Atacama Desert for an exclusive look at the telescope construction site. On the journey, the group enjoyed breathtaking views of the Chilean Andes, nighttime observing, as well as a tour of the Magellan telescopes at Las Campanas Observatory.


Credit: Damien Jemison, Giant Magellan Telescope — GMTO Corporation

The 9th Annual Giant Magellan Telescope Community Science Meeting took place in Washington, D.C., bringing together observers, theorists, and instrumentalists to share plans for exoplanet research. Learn about the science instruments that will be used to study exoplanets in searching for life beyond Earth.


Credit: Damien Jemison, Giant Magellan Telescope – GMTO Corporation

The University of Arizona Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab closed the lid on nearly 20 tons of the purest optical glass inside a one-of-a-kind oven for casting the Giant Magellan Telescope’s seventh and final primary mirror. The mirror reveal is anticipated in early 2024 before moving into the polishing stage.


Credit: Damien Jemison, Giant Magellan Telescope – GMTO Corporation

At the University of Arizona Tech Park, the primary mirror support system prototype was successfully tilted at an angle of 13.5 degrees to verify performance. Look inside the primary mirror support system where the complex process of transforming collected light into science begins.


Credit: Safran Reosc

With the first of seven adaptive secondary mirrors for the Giant Magellan Telescope anticipated for completion next year, thinning operations of the thin shell face sheet are underway. These deformable mirrors are being built to counteract the natural blurring effect of the Earth’s atmosphere.

The Universe Awaits™ for 2024!

To see more from the Giant Magellan Telescope, check out The Year in Photos 2022 and The Year in Photos 2021.

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