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March 2, 2021

Media Advisory: UArizona to Cast Sixth Mirror for Giant Magellan Telescope

  • What: Virtual news conference on the casting of the sixth primary mirror segment for the Giant Magellan Telescope. The casting will take place at the University of Arizona's Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab.
  • When: Friday, March 5, 10 a.m. MST (12 p.m. EST)  
  • Where: Media who wish to ask questions via Zoom must RSVP to ablue@arizona.edu by 8 a.m. MST (10 a.m. EST) March 5 to receive the link.
  • Note: A Spanish-speaking expert will be available for interviews after the event upon request.

TUCSON, Ariz. – Media are invited to participate in a virtual news conference on the spin-casting of the sixth of seven primary mirror segments for the Giant Magellan Telescope. Currently under construction in Chile's Atacama Desert, the next-generation telescope will allow astronomers to see farther into the universe and capture more detail than any optical telescope before. Once operational, the Giant Magellan Telescope will produce images 10 times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope.

The sixth mirror segment is being made in a giant, rotating furnace – the only one of its kind in the world – beneath the stands of Arizona Stadium at the University of Arizona. UArizona's Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab has been making the world's most advanced telescope mirrors for almost 40 years, and for the last 24 years has made the world's largest mirrors. These unique mirrors are lightweight honeycomb structures with the ideal mechanical and thermal properties needed to hold their shape to an accuracy of 50 nanometers (2 millionths of an inch) through thousands of nights of telescope observations.

Experts from the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization and the University of Arizona will discuss what it takes to make the world's most advanced telescope mirrors and how the unprecedented combination of light-gathering power, efficiency and image resolution will allow scientists to make new discoveries across all fields of astronomy, particularly fields that require the highest resolutions, such as the search for planets that might harbor life.

News conference participants include:

  • Rebecca Bernstein, Chief Scientist, Giant Magellan Telescope Organization
  • James Fanson, Project Manager, Giant Magellan Telescope Organization
  • Buell Jannuzi, Director, Steward Observatory, University of Arizona
  • Buddy Martin, Project Scientist, Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab, Steward Observatory,
    University of Arizona

Media who wish to ask questions via Zoom must RSVP with name, outlet and email address to Alexis Blue, ablue@arizona.edu, by 8 a.m. MST (10 a.m. EST) March 5 to receive a Zoom invitation. Registered reporters will receive a Zoom link to participate on the morning of the event.

# # #

 
Media contacts:
Daniel Stolte     
University Communications
520-626-4402                    
stolte@arizona.edu

Ryan Kallabis
Giant Magellan Telescope Organization
626-204-0554
rkallabis@gmto.org

The University of Arizona, a land-grant university with two independently accredited medical schools, is one of the nation's top 40 public universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. Established in 1885, the university is widely recognized as a student-centric university and has been designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. The university ranked in the top 20 in 2019 in research expenditures among all public universities, according to the National Science Foundation, and is a leading Research 1 institution with $734 million in annual research expenditures. The university advances the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships as a member of the Association of American Universities, the 65 leading public and private research universities in the U.S. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $4.1 billion annually. For the latest on the University of Arizona response to the novel coronavirus, visit the university's COVID-19 webpage.

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Mirror Lab