SANTIAGO – The world’s largest telescope is to be built in northern Chile’s Atacama Desert at a cost of $1 billion, the Giant Magellan Telescope, or GMT, organization said.
From its perch on Cerro Las Campanas de La Serena, the new telescope will capture clearer, more sharply defined images than those generated by the Hubble Space Telescope, GMT said on its website.
The exceedingly dry air in the Atacama Desert provides the best visibility in the world and the lens of the Giant Magellan is expected to have five to 10 times the capacity of existing instruments.
Three of the seven mirrors are already manufactured and the mountain-top site is ready for construction to begin.
The project’s chief astronomer, Mark M. Phillips, expects the facility to be in operation by 2024.
GMT Director Patrick McCarthy said that by the end of 2021 or early 2022, three or four of the main mirrors will be installed.