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Taiwan teams up with 6 countries to build Giant Magellan Telescope

02/21/2024 08:15 PM
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Nighttime exterior Giant Magellan Telescope rendering with support site buildings in the foreground. Image credit: Giant Magellan Telescope – GMTO Corporation
Nighttime exterior Giant Magellan Telescope rendering with support site buildings in the foreground. Image credit: Giant Magellan Telescope – GMTO Corporation

Taipei, Feb. 21 (CNA) Taiwan will take part in the building of the world's largest optical-infrared telescope with six other countries, the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) announced, after signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Giant Magellan Telescope program on Tuesday.

According to the agency in a statement, Taiwan has joined the "Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT)" program on which it will work with the United States, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Israel and South Korea on research related to the optical-infrared telescope.

The agency said Taiwan's astronomical research and the ability to develop related devices has been affirmed by the international community, with it expected to can provide light sensor parts, precision measuring instruments and knowledge needed to conduct precision laser cutting.

Currently, the institutions that are part of the program include Taiwan's Academia Sinica, Harvard University, Texas A&M University, the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Chicago, the Australian National University, Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute and Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute.

The agency said the Giant Magellan Telescope -- which consists of seven primary mirrors -- is currently being built in Chile, and is expected to be completed in about 2030.

After the telescope is built, it will lead ground-based optical and infrared research, the agency said, adding that it will be able to shoot the most detailed images of the universe, and unveil the cosmic origins of chemical elements.

The agency said key optical techniques will ensure the resolution of the Giant Magellan Telescope is 10 times better than the Hubble Space Telescope. It will also be 200 times more efficient than the best telescope to date.

According to the agency, taking part in the building of a 30-meter class telescope is a dream of Taiwanese astronomers, with the GMT considered the best program for Taiwan to join.

It is hoped Taiwan's participation in the program will deepen the nation's partnership with other countries in the field of astronomy, the agency added.

(By Chang Ai and Evelyn Yang)

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