A $1 billion project has been given the green light to construct the largest optical telescope ever built. Ben Gruber reports.
STORY: This mountaintop in Northern Chile will be home to the largest optical telescope every built. It's called the Giant Magellan Telescope. Made up of mirrors spanning 25 meters it will be able to focus six times more light than any other optical telescope on the planet and produce images up to 10 times sharper than those of the Hubble Space Telescope. The Giant Magellan Telescope Organization announced that its 11 international partners have committed more than $500 million (USD) to begin construction, half of its proposed $1 billion (USD) overall cost. The telescope is expected to begin peering into space in six years and be fully operational by 2024. The giant telescope will enable astronomers to look deeper into space and further back in time than ever before. It's primary focus, according to its developers, is to find Earth-like planets around nearby stars as well as reveal the faintest objects ever seen in space.