The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) will be one member of the next class of giant ground-based telescopes that promises to revolutionize our view and understanding of the universe. It will be constructed in the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, which promises over 300 nights a year of spectacular observing conditions. Commissioning of the telescope is scheduled to begin in 2025.
The GMT has a unique design that offers several advantages. It is a segmented mirror telescope that employs seven of today’s largest stiff monolith mirrors as segments. Six off-axis 8.4 meter or 27-foot segments surround a central on-axis segment, forming a single optical surface 24.5 meters, or 80 feet, in diameter with a total collecting area of 368 square meters. With a sophisticated “adaptive optics” system residing on the telescopes’ secondary mirrors, the GMT will have a resolving power 10 times greater than the Hubble Space Telescope. The GMT project is the work of a distinguished international consortium of leading universities and science institutions.