The universe awaits

Primary Mirrors:
World’s Largest Optics

The Giant Magellan Telescope’s seven primary mirrors are the world’s largest and most challenging optics ever produced. The primary mirrors are the telescope’s first contact surface that collects incoming light from the night sky. Each 8.4-meter diameter mirror has an astonishingly smooth surface, takes four years to complete, and weighs 18 metric tons. The segmented mirrors have a parabolic shape and are arranged in a unique flower pattern to form a 25.4 meters wide light-collecting surface, the largest of any built telescope to date. The efficient optical design is a world first and promises to see farther into the universe with more detail than any other telescope before.

World’s Largest Mirrors

The Giant Magellan Telescope uses seven of the world’s largest optics for its primary mirrors, each 8.4 meters in diameter to form a 25.4 meter mirror surface.

Image Resolving Power

The primary mirrors give the Giant Magellan Telescope 4–10 times the image resolution of the most advanced telescopes that exist today today.

• Ten times the image resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope

• Four times the image resolution of the James Webb Space Telescope

Light Collecting Power

The Giant Magellan Telescope’s array of seven mirrors work together as a single mirror with a total light collecting area of 368 square meters.

Extreme Surface Smoothness

Each primary mirror on the Giant Magellan Telescope is polished for approximately two years to obtain a final optical surface precision of more than 25 nanometers. They are so smooth that the highest peaks and valleys are smaller than one thousandth of the width of a human hair.

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