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Mirror Lab & Observing

February 23, 2017 Wednesday – Steward Observatory Mirror Lab, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA

2017 Southern Arizona & Astronomy

Both Reg and I drive the group into Tucson to visit the University of Arizona’s Mirror Lab, which is fascinating for all of us. This lab produces many of the world’s largest astronomical mirrors.

The Mirror Lab’s current multi-year project is to make the seven 8.4 metre mirrors for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), which will be located at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. Combined together, the seven mirrors will form a single parabolic surface some 24.5 metres (80’) across! GMT is scheduled to be operational in 2022 with four mirrors, and will be fully operational in 2024 with all seven mirrors. The first mirror is completed, and the second through fourth mirrors are currently in the process of being made.

After returning to the ranch, we find the weather is wonderfully clear this evening, so my friends and I use the 25” telescope for visual observing from the observatory. My observing report

 
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