Construction begins on world’s largest telescope
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Construction begins on world’s largest telescope

A groundbreaking ceremony has been held in Chile for the Giant Magellan Telescope, expected to become the largest telescope ever built upon completion in 2021.

Scientists and officials gathered Wednesday on a mountaintop high in the Chilean cordillera at Las Campanas observatory for the telescope ceremony, which will produce images 10 times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope.

“We are thrilled to be breaking ground on the Giant Magellan Telescope site at such an exciting time for astronomy,” said Board Chair, and Director of the McDonald Observatory at the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Taft Armandroff. “With its unprecedented size and resolving power, the Giant Magellan Telescope will allow current and future generations of astronomers to continue the journey of cosmic discovery.”

The telescope’s unique design combines seven of the largest mirrors that can be manufactured, each 8.4 meters (27 feet) across, to create a single telescope effectively 25 meters or 85 feet in diameter.

GMT will help answer questions in cosmology, astrophysics and the study of planets outside the solar system.

The biggest, most powerful telescopes on Earth are being built in Chile, turning the Andean nation into a global astronomy hub.

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