Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT)
In June 2015, The Giant Magellan Telescope Organization announced approval to commence construction of the world’s first of a new generation of extremely large optical telescopes. This was followed in Nov 2015 by a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the commencement of on-site construction of the telescope. AAL Board Deputy Chair Anne Green joined leading scientists, senior officials, and supporters from an international consortium of universities and research institutions for the celebrations.
The light-gathering area and resolution that the GMT will achieve is required to address some of the most exciting questions of the 21st century: How did the first galaxies form? What are dark matter and dark energy that comprise most of our universe? How did stellar matter from the Big Bang congeal into what we see today? What is the fate of the universe? Are we alone?
"The GMT will play a leading role in the international race to identify planets orbiting stars near the Sun that could host life and potentially reveal the signatures of biological processes. The first years of GMT's operation will be an incredibly exciting time."
- Prof Chris Tinney, UNSW, AAL representative on the GMT Science Advisory Council.
The GMTIFS (GMT Integral Field Spectrograph) instrument from the ANU has been chosen as one of six GMT first-light instruments for which Conceptual Design Studies are being undertaken. GMTIFS will be used with the GMT's Laser Tomography Adaptive Optics (LTAO) system and the primary instrument is an adaptive-optics-corrected near-infrared integral-field spectrograph. The ANU is also contracted to develop the GMT LTAO system concept.
The AAO-designed MANIFEST (MANy-Instrument FibrE SysTem) is a general-purpose fibre-positioning system, to feed the GMT instruments such as GMACS (the proposed optical imaging spectrograph), NIRMOS (the proposed near-infrared imaging spectrograph) and G-Clef (high resolution optical spectrograph).
AAL representation on GMT Committees
GMT Board: Nigel Poole, National Measurement Institute.
GMT Governance Committee: Mr Mark McAuley, AAL.
GMT Science Advisory Committee: Assoc. Prof Andy Sheinis, until March 2017.
Artist's impression of the GMT. Image credit: Giant Magellan Telescope/GMTO.