Work Began on Giant Chile Telescope

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The work on construction for one of the world’s most advanced telescopes Andean mountaintop has been inaugurated by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet .

The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), scheduled to be completed by 2024, will have a resolution 10 times that of the Hubble spacecraft.

Experts say Chile Telescope will be able to observe black holes in the distant cosmos and make out planets in other solar systems with unprecedented detail.

Such technology, astronomers say, will help humans determine how the universe formed and if planets hundreds of light years away could support life.

The GMT – a collaboration of institutions in the United States, Chile, South Korea, Brazil, and Australia – will rely on seven intricately curved lenses, each almost 28 feet (8.5 meters) wide.

For the system to work, no one lens can have a blemish of more than 25 nanometers, which is some four thousand times smaller than the average width of a human hair.

Two other massive instruments of Chile Telescope – the European Extremely Large Telescope, also in Chile, and the Thirty Meter Telescope in Hawaii – are scheduled to be completed in the 2020s as well.

The Chile Telescope’s massive single lenses and wider observation field will allow for more precise measurements.

Astronomers say Chile’s bone-dry Atacama Desert, host to the GMT and dozens of other high-powered telescopes, is uniquely suited to space observation as it has dry air, high mountains, and little light pollution.

Another advantage for astronomers in Chile is that the airflow from the nearby Pacific Ocean is smoother than that over continental deserts, meaning scientists have to contend with less atmospheric interference.

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