Large Binocular Telescope

The Large Binocular Telescope or LBT is the world's most powerful optical telescope. It will allow scientists to view planets and stars in our galaxy.

It is housed in Arizona's Mount Graham International Observatory. The telescope is housed in a sixteen story structure, and the top ten floors of the structure rotate.

A fifty-five ton mirror and its steel transport box were recently transported 122 miles to get to Arizona. There is the eighteen ton mirror which is made like borosilicate honeycomb. The mirror was transported in November of 2003 to its final home. It took three days and plenty of planning for it to arrive unscathed.

The journey actually began when the mirror was spun cast in the giant rotating furnace back in 1997. The team at th Mirror Lab have been creating new mirror technologies for the past twenty years. After casting, it was polished using a stressed-lap technique. The parabolic face of the mirror is precisely one millionth of an inch over the entire mirror.

The mechanical parts were tested in Italy and shipped to Arizona. Partnerships all over the world helped to bring this telescope into being.

The Arizona State University, Observatories in Milan, Padua, Rome, and Florence, Ohio State University, University of Notre Dame, and the University of Virginia all own a part of this Large Binocular Telescope.

The LBT's second primary mirror is 8.4 meters and polishing began soon after the first mirror was done. Together, the two mirrors cost approximately twenty-two million.

The twin 8.4 meter mirrors are on a single telescope mount. The images they receive are nearly ten times sharper than the Hubble. The LBT is capable of seeing planets beyond our solar system and will allow scientists to look deeper into the universe.


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