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Magnet Photo

Overview of the GMT telescope and First Light Instrumentation

Abstract: The Giant Magellan Telescope project is an international collaboration to design, build and operate a 25m telescope for research in astrophysics and cosmology. The GMT primary mirror is comprised of seven 8.4m diameter segments, providing both a collecting area and diffraction-limited image concentration that are an order of magnitude better than those offered by current facilities. The telescope will be located at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile and will access the same region of the sky as the LSST, the Dark Energy Survey, ALMA and a number of other surveys and front-line facilities. The GMT will have the widest field of view of any of the proposed ELTs. Adaptive optics is integral to the telescope via a segmented adaptive secondary mirror. I will review the scientific goals of the project and the current technical status. Fabrication of 8.4m off-axis primary mirror segments, the largest technical challenge, has now been demonstrated. I will review the challenges associated with implementing a 20 arcminute diameter corrected field of view and approaches to spectroscopic follow-up of large imaging surveys. Diffraction-limited operations will be essential to the exploration of planetary systems and GMT offers unique opportunities as well as technical challenges. A roadmap for instrumentation development will closely interface with commissioning plans for the telescope and key scientific opportunities early in the next decade.
Speaker: Pat McCarthy - Giant Magellan Telescope
Speaker Bio: Patrick McCarthy is Director of the Giant Magellan Telescope Project. He received his Ph. D. in Astronomy from U. C. Berkeley in 1988. He went to the Carnegie Observatories first as a Carnegie Fellow and then as a Hubble Fellow in 1991. In 1993 he joined the scientific staff at Carnegie. His research is focused on understanding the evolution of massive galaxies at intermediate and high redshifts. As GMTO Director he is responsible for the overall scientific mission of the project.
Poster Link: Poster