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Multimedia: Giant Magellan Telescope signs contract for telescope structure

Unless otherwise stated, image credit: Giant Magellan Telescope – GMTO Corporation.

The GMT telescope structure rotating through the elevation axis full range of motion. The structure including mirrors, instruments, and all other payloads, weighs 2,100 metric tons and floats on a film of oil 50 microns thick.

The GMT telescope structure rotating through the elevation axis full range of motion. The structure including mirrors, instruments, and all other payloads, weighs 2,100 metric tons and floats on a film of oil 50 microns thick. mp4 version here.

Profile of the GMT telescope structure and its foundations. The grey cylinder at the bottom is the telescope pier – the concrete foundations. The widest orange ring designates the observing floor of the enclosure. The grey semi-circular structure above this is known as the C-Ring. The C-Ring structure is supported by sixteen radial hydrostatic bearings which counteract the force of gravity and allow the telescope to move smoothly. The light blue, hexagonal structures are the mirror cells that hold the primary mirrors and their support mechanisms. Finally, at the top of the main truss, the Top End supports the secondary mirror assembly.

Profile of the GMT telescope structure and its foundations. The gray cylinder at the bottom is the telescope pier – the concrete foundations. The widest orange ring designates the observing floor of the enclosure. The gray semi-circular structure above this is known as the C-Ring. The C-Ring structure is supported by sixteen radial hydrostatic bearings which counteract the force of gravity and allow the telescope to move smoothly. The light blue, hexagonal structures are the mirror cells that hold the primary mirrors and their support mechanisms. Finally, at the top of the main truss, the Top End supports the secondary mirror assembly. High resolution version here (.tif).

This view of the GMT telescope structure shows the seven primary mirror covers deployed.

This view of the GMT telescope structure shows the seven primary mirror covers deployed. High resolution version here (.tif).

The GMT telescope structure showing the six 8.4m off-axis segments arrayed around a central on-axis 8.4m segment which comprises GMT's unique primary mirror configuration.

The GMT telescope structure showing the six 8.4m off-axis segments arrayed around a central on-axis 8.4m segment which comprises GMT’s unique primary mirror configuration. High resolution version here (.tif).

The Elevation axis bearing pads (in blue) are shown supporting the yellow ‘bearing runner’ that will be an integral feature of the massive C-Ring structure. Both the pads and runner are machined to very tight tolerances (microns). The high precision machining is a big factor in controlling an even and consistent oil film thickness.

The Elevation axis bearing pads (in blue) are shown supporting the yellow ‘bearing runner’ that will be an integral feature of the massive C-Ring structure. Both the pads and runner are machined to very tight tolerances (microns). The high precision machining is a big factor in controlling an even and consistent oil film thickness.

The Azimuth bearings. The orange ring at the bottom of the image is the Azimuth Track which is connected to the concrete pier and does not rotate. The blue pads on top of this fixed track support the entire mass of the telescope and the pads (also shown in blue) on the inside of the azimuth track keep the rotating structure centered on the fixed track.

The Azimuth bearings. The orange ring at the bottom of the image is the Azimuth Track which is connected to the concrete pier and does not rotate. The blue pads on top of this fixed track support the entire mass of the telescope and the pads (also shown in blue) on the inside of the azimuth track keep the rotating structure centered on the fixed track.

Left to right: Ingersoll Machine Tools CEO, Chip Storie; MT Mechatronics Senior Vice President, Thomas Zimmerer; GMTO President, Robert N. Shelton with a bronze model of the telescope structure.

Left to right: Ingersoll Machine Tools CEO, Chip Storie; MT Mechatronics Senior Vice President, Thomas Zimmerer; GMTO President, Robert N. Shelton with a bronze model of the telescope structure.

The GMT, MT Mechatronics and IMT team at GMT HQ.

The GMT, MT Mechatronics and IMT team at GMT HQ.

The latest design of the enclosure, telescope and site at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. Credit: M3 Engineering.

The latest design of the enclosure, telescope and site at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. Credit: M3 Engineering.

The latest design of the enclosure, telescope and site at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile with a night sky background. Credit: M3 Engineering and GMTO Corporation.

The latest design of the enclosure, telescope and site at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile with a night sky background. Credit: M3 Engineering and GMTO Corporation.

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The latest design of the enclosure, telescope and site at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. Credit: M3 Engineering.