Sunday, February 07, 2010 | |


This is the 1-meter polishing machine at the Space Optics Research Center in the Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science in Daejeon, a member of the consortium for the Giant Magellan Telescope. The GMT is one of the new, yet-to-be-constructed generation of extremely large telescopes (ELT), and when built, will have the light gathering equivalent of a 21.4 meter diameter mirror--four times more powerful than any existing instrument.

This particular machine was used to polish one of the mirrors made for demonstration purposes. The design of the GMT is unique in that its reflecting surface is not one continuous mirror, but an array of seven mirrors each of diameter 8.4 meters--one central mirror surrounded by six others. However, as these six outer mirrors are off-axis from the light source and its focus point, significant aberration is introduced into the optical system. Correcting for this requires a special polishing procedure. As research in optics collimation is what KRISS specializes in, this will be a large part of their contribution to the project.

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