Mirror casting begins for the world's largest optical/infrared telescope

27 January 2018
The first six hexagonal segments have been cast for the giant mirror of the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT). Ramboll is technical advisor to ESO for construction and design.
Composite image compares the size of the Extremely Large Telescope with the Colosseum in Rome (credit: ESO/L. Calçada)

Composite image compares the size of the Extremely Large Telescope with the Colosseum in Rome (credit: ESO/L. Calçada)

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Claire Hall. Ramboll

Claire Hall

Director, Project Management, Transport
T: +44 1244 311 855

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Casting begins for the largest mirror ever made for an optical-infrared telescope

These first six hexagonal segments have been successfully cast by the German company SCHOTT at their facility in Mainz. They will form part of the E-ELT’s 39m diameter main mirror, which will have 798 segments in total and will be will be by far the largest mirror ever made for an optical-infrared telescope.

Ramboll is supporting ESO in the procurement and contract administration of the construction and design of the telescope's dome and main structure. More on Ramboll's role

This ESOcast shows the casting of the segments and explains how they form part of the E-ELT.

Such a giant mirror is much too large to be made from a single piece of glass, so it will consist of 798 individual hexagonal segments, each measuring 1.4m across and about 5cm thick. The segments will work together as a single huge mirror to collect tens of millions of times as much light as the human eye.

More information from ESO here

Video Credit: ESO
Directed by: Nico Bartmann
Editing: Nico Bartmann
Web and technical support: Mathias André and Raquel Yumi Shida
Written by: Rosa Jesse and Richard Hook
Music: Music written and performed by: Astral Electronic - Gravity part 3 /New Horizons
Footage and photos: ESO, ACe Consortium, SCHOTT
Caption authors: (Vietnamese) Sang Mai Thanh, (Romanian) Mihail-Gabriel Barbuta
License: Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)

Related projects

Extremely Large Telescope (credit: ESO/L. Calçada)

European Extremely Large Telescope

Located on top of Cerro Armazones in Chile, the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) will be the largest optical/infrared telescope in the world and will take telescope engineering into new territory. With a main mirror 39m in diameter, this ultra-advanced telescope will be housed in an enormous rotating dome 85m in diameter. When complete it will be be used to search for life on planets around other stars in the Milky Way.

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