The Giant Magellan Telescope consortium has begun to design and build
the first of the next generation, extremely large telescopes. The
Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) is based firmly on the heritage of the
highly successful Magellan telescopes, which, thanks to their superb
site and excellent design, routinely produce the best images of the
current generation of ground-based large telescopes. The GMT will
continue in this tradition, and will offer sharp images over wide
fields in natural seeing, and with seeing enhanced by ground layer
adaptive optics. In addition, the GMT will routinely produce
diffraction-limited images with powerful adaptive optics systems
designed into the telescope. GMT will be a powerful tool for
addressing the key astrophysical problems of its era, beginning in
approximately a decade.
The GMT's primary mirror is formed from seven 8.4 meter diameter
segments; a single on-axis segment is surrounded by six identical
off-axis segments. GMT will have the collecting area of a single 22
meter mirror and the resolution of a single 24 meter diameter mirror.
With a Gregorian secondary producing a final focal ratio of f/8, GMT
will have an image scale of 1 mm per arcsecond. GMT's primary focal
ratio of f/0.7 allows a very compact telescope structure.
GMT will likely be located at the existing Las Campanas Observatory, a
superb site that is already home to the 6.5 meter Magellan telescopes.
The GMT Consortium currently includes the Carnegie Observatories,
Harvard University, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, the
University of Arizona, the University of Michigan, the University of
Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, and the Australian National
The GMT Project conducted a very successful Conceptual Design Review
in February 2006, and is currently entering its Design Development
Phase. A great deal of additional material is available at the GMT
Project's web site. The review documents for
the Conceptual Design Review are available at this site, including the
current scientific case for GMT.
Giant Magellan Telescope
GMT & Planet Formation