Australia and the Giant Magellan Telescope

On the 3rd June the Giant Magellan Telescope Organisation announced that the GMT was beginning construction. Join us for an evening exploring Australia’s involvement in this exciting international science endeavour.

The ANU and Astronomy Australia Ltd (AAL) represent Australia’s 10% share in the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) but it’s not just astronomers that benefit from this investment. Australia is building two instruments and contributing to the adaptive optics system that will help the GMT achieve a resolution 10 times better than the Hubble Space Telescope.

This is your opportunity to learn more from the people leading these projects

Prof Matthew Colless is the Vice- Chair of the GMTO Board. He is an astronomer and Director of the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics. Prof Colless will present the overall project and why it’s important for Australian astronomers to have access to telescopes like GMT.

Prof Warrick Couch is the Director of Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO) and an astronomer. Prof Couch will present MANIFEST, a fibre positioner being developed by the AAO to feed all of the natural seeing spectrographs on the GMT.

Dr Robert Sharp is the Lead Instrument Scientist on the Giant Magellan Telescope Integral Field Spectrograph (GMTIFS), one of the “first-light” instruments for GMT. Dr Sharp will discuss the GMTIFS and how it will study physical phenomena such as the environment around the black hole at the centre of our galaxy to planets orbiting nearby stars.

Assoc Prof Francois Rigaut is the Head of the Adaptive Optics Group at the ANU. This group is developing the Laser Tomography Adaptive Optics (LTAO) system to correct for the blurring caused by the Earth’s atmosphere. He will discuss how they are taking the twinkle out of the stars and using this technology to improve the tracking of space debris.

Roger Franzen is the GMT Technical Program Manager; he also manages the Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Centre (AITC). He will discuss how these facilities are supporting GMTIFS and LTAO and also how they are supporting the design, integration and test of satellites in Australia.