U.S. School to Join Telescope Project

CHICAGO, July 20 (UPI) — A U.S. university says it will be a founding partner in building the world’s largest telescope in Chile with image quality better than the Hubble telescope.

The University of Chicago will provide $50 million to become part of the Giant Magellan Telescope project intended to capture images of objects 100 times fainter that those detectable by the Hubble Space Telescope, a university release said Tuesday.

Partners in the project include universities and scientific institutions from America, Australia and South Korea, the release said.

Construction of the GMT, expected to take seven years, will begin at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile in 2012.

The $700 million GMT will combine seven 28-foot primary mirror segments into the equivalent of an 80-foot telescope mirror.

It will join the existing twin 21.5 foot Magellan Telescopes at Las Campanas, the university said.

“We’re looking to make great discoveries with the Magellan Telescopes,” said Edward Kolb, chairman of the UC Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics. “They will be the workhorses of the department in optical astronomy for the next 10 years.”

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