The Half-Astrophysicist Blog

The First ATST Mirror Blank Has Arrived in Tucson

The Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST) will be the largest and most advanced solar telescope in the world when it comes online (currently scheduled for early 2019). It will have a 4.2 meter primary mirror making it substantially larger than any other dedicated solar telescope.

These projects have a long lead time and frequently must overcome many challenges. In September of 20120, they cast a 4.2 meter mirror blank. I don’t know the story, but lots of manufacturing challenges cropped up and they are casting another one (according to their website, this happened in June of 2012 but there are no more recent updates…however, given the time it takes to cast and cool a mirror, they probably won’t post anything until they are sure all is well so this is not necessarily a bad sign). Today, the first mirror blank arrived in Tucson. This is what is parked outside right now.

Yes, Schott Glass. Lends itself to all kinds of bad jokes. So now you know what the shipping container looks like for a 4.2 meter mirror.

I don’t know what the plans are for this first mirror blank. It wouldn’t surprise me if they had some engineering tests in mind for it. If anything interesting happens or I get a chance to see it unboxed, I will post more as that happens.

If you want to know more about the ATST, you can listen to an interview I did with Joseph McMullin, the ATST Project Manager, for the 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast or visit the ATST website.

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August 17, 2012 - Posted by | ATST, Solar Astronomy, Telescopes | ,

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