August 12, 2009
Steward Observatory Lab Casts 6.5-m Mirror for San Pedro MÃ¡rtir Telescope
An international collaboration of astronomers from the United States and Mexico will gather at the University of Arizona Steward Observatory Mirror Laboratory in Tucson on Aug. 26 to celebrate the casting of a 6.5-meter mirror they plan to use in a proposed infrared sky survey at one of the darkest sky sites in the world.
Steward Observatory is casting the 6.5-meter (21.3-foot) "honeycomb" sandwich mirror for a future telescope planned for San Pedro Mártir Observatory in Baja California, M©xico. The telescope is called the San Pedro Mártir Telescope, or SPMT.
Project partners are Universidad Nacional Aut³noma de M©xico, known as UNAM, the University of California, the Instituto Nacional de AstrofÃsica, Ã“ptica y Electr³nica, known as INAOE, and the UA.
The group intends to survey the entire northern sky repeatedly at infrared wavelengths to reveal the most distant objects in the universe and the dynamic night sky as never before with their project, called the Synoptic All-Sky Infrared Imaging Survey, or SASIR.
More information about the SASIR project and links to the partner institutions is online at http://sasir.org
More information about the Steward Observatory Mirror Laboratory is online at http://www.as.arizona.edu/research/mirror_laboratory.html.
Reporters are invited to interview U.S. and Mexican scientists about the project at the Mirror Lab between 10 a.m. and noon Wednesday, Aug. 26. That is when temperatures inside the giant rotating furnace are expected to reach 1,180 degrees C (2,156 F), and borosilicate glass melts and fills the mold. The hexagonal cores of the mold create the lightweight honeycomb structure.
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