UT Partners On World’s Largest Telescope

UT is often on the forefront of innovation in the astronomy field. But one project—the Giant Magellan Telescope—is changing not only the world, but also galaxies far beyond it.

The University of Texas is partnering with astronomers across the globe, including those at Australia National University, Korea Astronomy and Space Institute, and our neighbor Texas A&M, to make the Giant Magellan Telescope the world’s largest optical telescope.

UT is a 10-percent partner in the operation, a commitment that comes with a financial goal of putting $70 million toward the 200-foot-tall telescope.

“This endeavor is really in the University’s interest,” says David Lambert, director of UT’s McDonald Observatory and a project board member. “There is science we just can’t do at the moment.”

The Giant Magellan Telescope will meet those astronomy needs by amping up the world’s resolve power to 10 times that of the Hubble Telescope. The ability to view the galaxy with more detail will ultimately enable scientists to answer the age-old question: are we alone in the universe?

Located in Chile’s Atacama Desert, the telescope sits atop Las Campanas Peak—a spot ideal for its high and dry location, lack of vegetation, and number of clear days per year.

The $700 million project is set to be completed in 2020.

Photo courtesy McDonald Observatory.


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