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Giant Magellan Telescope Conceptual Design

Scientists and engineers from Carnegie Institution for Science, Harvard University, Smithsonian Institution, and the University of Arizona developed a concept for an extremely large telescope. Drawing upon expertise in the field of optics, telescope structures, and instrumentation, the initial design for the Giant Magellan Telescope was developed over a three-year period.

July 2005

First Primary Mirror Cast

Fabrication of the telescope's first 8.4-meter primary mirror began at the University of Arizona's Richard F. Caris Mirror Laboratory. Read more.

February 2009

Formation of Consortium

A founding consortium of international academic and research institutions was created to execute the design, construction, and operation of the Giant Magellan Telescope.

June 2010
Carnegie Institution for Science Joins as Founder
July 2010
The University of Chicago Joins as Founder
July 2011

Site Selection

A home for the 30-meter class telescope was selected – Las Campanas Observatory in Chile's Atacama Desert, one of the best locations on Earth to view the heavens.

January 2012
Second Primary Mirror Cast
March 2012
Start of Construction

Mountain top blasting at Las Campanas Peak launched site preparations for construction. Read more.

August 2013

Third Primary Mirror Cast

February 2014
Design Finalized

Successful external reviews marked the completion of the telescope's design phase.

July 2014
Brazil’s São Paulo Research Foundation Joins as Founder
September 2015

Fourth Primary Mirror Cast

September 2017
First Primary Mirror Finalized

First primary mirror finalized, packed in a special containment vessel and stowed in a temporary storage facility in advance of its journey south.

November 2017
Fifth Primary Mirror Cast

Initiated casting of the fifth of seven mirrors that will form the heart of the Giant Magellan Telescope. Read more.

March 2019
Site Excavation

Summit excavation completed for observatory pier and enclosure foundations. Read more.

August 2019
Second Primary Mirror Finalized

Second primary mirror finalized, packed in a special containment vessel and stowed in a temporary storage facility in advance of its journey south.

September 2020

Grant Awarded

National Science Foundation grant accelerated prototyping and testing of powerful optical and infrared technologies. Read more.

March 2021
Sixth Primary Mirror Cast

The sixth of seven of the world’s largest monolithic mirrors began fabrication. Read more.

October 2021
Weizmann Institute of Science Joins as Founder

Weizmann Institute of Science joined the international consortium of distinguished universities and research institutions building the Giant Magellan Telescope. Read more.

July 2022
Facility Unveiled for Mount Fabrication

North America’s largest and most advanced five axis mill machine unveiled in Rockford, Illinois, to build the telescope mount. Read more.

August 2022
Investment Accelerates Construction

Funding round represents one of the largest in project history. Read more.

September 2023

Final Primary Mirror Fabrication

The four-year process to fabricate and polish the seventh and final primary mirror begins, the last required to complete the set. Read more.


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