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.
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.
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