Change is afoot at the offices of the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO), which is building one of the world’s largest telescopes. Today the group announced that its president, physicist Edward Moses, is stepping down after less than a year in the job. Moses is leaving to “deal with family matters that require his attention,” according to a statement on the GMTO website.
It’s the second recent high-profile departure from the project. On 9 July the organization announced that Wendy Freedman of the University of Chicago was stepping down as chair of the GMTO board after 12 years in the role.
When completed, the Giant Magellan Telescope will have a mirror 25 meters across, roughly 2.5 the size of today’s top telescopes. When it begins operation in 2024 at Las Campanas in northern Chile, it will join two other giant telescopes that are also just beginning construction: the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) in Hawaii; and the 39-meter European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) at Cerro Armazones in Chile. The GMT’s huge reflector will be made up of seven large mirrors mounted together, each one 8.4 meters across and weighing 17 tonnes. The other giant two scopes use a segmented mirror approach, their reflectors patched together with a much larger number of hexagonal mirror tiles (798 on the E-ELT and 492 on the TMT), each one independently steerable.Continue Reading »