The Expanding Universe: Building Giant Telescopes
Wendy will describe how astronomical telescopes have led to our current understanding of cosmology -- the universe on the largest scales. Astronomers have ambitious plans for this decade - with giant new telescopes planned for both the ground and space. She will describe an exciting new international telescope project -- the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), a project being led out of Pasadena, CA.
The Giant Magellan Telescope will have a 25m aperture comprised of seven 8.4m diameter mirror segments. It will be located in the Andes mountains of Chile, at Cerro Las Campanas. The GMT will have a resolution ten times that of the Hubble Space Telescope.
The first of the primary mirrors has been completed at the University of Arizona. The surface has been polished to an extraordinary accuracy of 20 nanometers (rms). The second mirror is being fabricated. An adaptive secondary mirror, composed of 3 mm thin mirrors and more than 7000 magnetic actuators will provide the forces needed to correct images distorted by the Earth's atmosphere at a rate of hundreds of times per second. Lasers will provide artificial reference points.
Wendy will give a current status of the GMT project, and discuss its exciting science goals.
Dr. Wendy Freedman is an astronomer and the Crawford H. Greenewalt Director of the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California. A native of Toronto, Canada, she received her doctorate in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Toronto in 1984. She received a Carnegie Fellowship at the Observatories in 1984, joined the permanent faculty in 1987, and was appointed Director in 2003. She currently also chairs the Board of Directors for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), a 25-m optical telescope scheduled for construction in Chile in 2020.
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