Overview and Status of the Giant Magellan Telescope Project

Dec 13, 2018 - 10:00 am to 11:00 am

Moved to campus, Varian 355  *Note New Time and Location*

Rebecca Bernstein (Giant Magellan Telescope Organization)

Optical-IR telescopes have been the drivers for astronomical discovery for four centuries. The next generation of "extremely large" ground-based telescopes will open new discovery space that will revolutionize exoplanet research and expand the frontiers of all areas of astrophysics and cosmology. In this talk, I will provide an overview and status report on the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) in the context of the other next-generation telescopes.


The GMT is a 25.4m diameter telescope being built in northern Chile by an international collaboration of universities and research institutions. It will use state-of-the-art, adaptive optics technology that builds on a heritage of optical systems in use today to gain a factor of three in angular resolution and a factor of tens to thousands in sensitivity (depending on the observing configuration) over the previous generation of telescopes.  I will give a brief overview of the GMT design, focusing on the aspects of GMT that will provide unique capabilities among the ELTs. The first-generation instruments for GMT are being designed to further capitalize on GMT's strengths and will enable research on everything from exoplanets to the highest redshift galaxies.  I will describe the first-generation instrument suite and some of the exciting science that our partners anticipate doing during the first decade of operations. GMT is proceding rapidly with final design work, mirror fabrication, prototyping, and site construction. I will provide an update on the project's status and the construction underway in Chile.