By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer
When the Hubble Space Telescope was launched into space in 1990, it provided astronomers with some of the most detailed pictures of space ever seen. Well, ol’ Hubby, you’ve done a great job for the last 23 years, but it’s time to step aside for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT).
After its construction is completed 10 years from now, it will be one of the largest telescopes ever made.
According to the website dedicated to the telescope: “The Giant Magellan Telescope will be one of the next class of super giant earth-based telescopes that promises to [change] our view and understanding of the universe.”
The GMT will have 7 mirrors, weighing 20 tons each! Even though the mirrors are heavy, engineers have to be super careful where they put them. You see, this is an optical telescope, meaning the mirrors focus light onto a camera so it can take high-quality pictures. If the mirrors are even a little bit off, the telescope won’t work the way it’s supposed to. The director of GMT, Dr. Pat McCarthy, explains, “We have to make this optic precise enough so that when the light travels 5, 10 billion light-years and comes and hits our telescope, we don’t scramble and lose that information that’s traveled so long.”
If the information isn’t scrambled, the GMT is going to see 10 times more clearly than the Hubble Space Telescope ever could, and peer into the deepest parts of space. Dr. Wendy Freedman, the chairman of the GMT, says, “We will witness, directly, the first galaxies forming, the first supernova forming, the first black holes forming, and see how the universe that we’re living in now… came to be.” Yes, you read that correctly. The GMT can basically provide us with images of the past! It’s almost like traveling through time visually.
I can’t wait to see the first pictures from GMT, even if I have to wait 10 years for them!
Images and video courtesy of GMTO Corporation.