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In this episode of The Atlas Obscura Podcast, we visit a spinning furnace tucked under the football stadium at the University of Arizona, designed to help build giant telescope mirrors.
A behind-the-scenes tour of the University of Arizona’s Richard F. Caris Mirror Laboratory which leads the world in making giant, lightweight mirrors of unprecedented power for a new generation of optical telescopes.
Hubert Martin, Project Scientist at the Mirror Polishing Program, talks with SciFri’s Charles Bergquist about the mirror production process, and the challenges of working with glass on massive scales.
Timelapse for casting GMT mirror 5. Credit: Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab, The University of Arizona and Giant Magellan Telescope – GMTO Corporation
Underneath the stands of the Arizona Wildcats Football Stadium, engineers of UArizona's Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab manufacture the world's largest and most lightweight telescope mirrors. At the center of the process is a giant spinning furnace, the only one of its kind.
Sixth Mirror Cast for Giant Magellan Telescope
The Giant Magellan Telescope’s primary mirrors are fabricated with high-purity, low-expansion, borosilicate glass (called E6 glass) from the Ohara Corporation of Japan.
High Fire Casting of the Sixth Primary Mirror for the Giant Magellan Telescope has begun!
Lowering the simulator onto the test cell, June 2020. Image credit: Steven West | Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab at the University of Arizona