“We find them smaller and fainter, in constantly increasing numbers, and we know that we are reaching into space, farther and farther, until, with the faintest nebulae that can be detected with the greatest telescopes, we arrive at the frontier of the known universe.” -Edwin Hubble

If you want to see farther, deeper and at higher resolution than ever before into the Universe, you need four things: the largest aperture possible, the best-quality optical systems and cameras/CCDs, the least interference from the atmosphere, and the analytical techniques and power to make the most of every photon. While the last three have improved tremendously over the past 25 years, telescope size hasn’t increased at all.

Image credit: Adi Zitrin, California Institute Of Technology, 2015.

Image credit: Adi Zitrin, California Institute Of Technology, 2015.

That’s all about to change over the next decade, as three telescopes — the Giant Magellan Telescope, the Thirty Meter Telescope and the European Extremely Large Telescope — are set to take us from 8-10 meter class astronomy to 25-40 meter class. While the latter two are fighting over funding, construction rights and other political concerns, the Giant Magellan Telescope is already under construction, and is poised to be the first in line to begin the future of ground-based astronomy.

Image credit: Giant Magellan Telescope / GMTO Corporation.

Image credit: Giant Magellan Telescope / GMTO Corporation.

Go read the whole story here.

Comments

  1. #1 PJ
    Perth, west Oz
    February 5, 2016

    AAhhh, just one of those mirror cells would do me fine. I wonder if they would miss just one?
    🙂

  2. #2 PJ
    Perth, west Oz
    February 5, 2016

    Preferably any one without a hole ….

  3. #3 Ragtag Media
    United States
    February 6, 2016

    “AAhhh, just one of those mirror cells would do me fine. ”

    PJ, is your vanity getting the best of you?
    Mirror Mirror from the scope, who’s more treasured than the Pope?
    🙂
    Cheesy I know, but couldn’t resist.

  4. #4 PJ
    Perth, west Oz
    February 6, 2016

    No vanity there. I look at the stars, not myself.
    🙂

  5. #5 Ragtag Media
    February 6, 2016

    PJ, what kind of telescope do you have?

  6. #6 PJ
    Perth, west Oz
    February 6, 2016

    1) Orion 120mm guidescope
    2) Celestron 8″ cat
    3) 12.5″ Sigler Schmidt/cassegrain under construction
    4) 13 foot dish for radio telescope, receiver under construction.

  7. #7 Ragtag Media
    United States
    February 7, 2016

    PJ Is that you there on the stairs?
    http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s–Xb_eWWNT–/ulhotnmced87tf1qeruz.jpg
    Just kidding,
    Awesome, Good for you PJ. Is your dish for the radio telescope a repurposed dish or custome made specific?

  8. #8 PJ
    Perth, west Oz
    February 7, 2016

    Modified sat TV antenna. Rx built specifically for 21cm.

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