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Australian Human Resources Institute Diversity Awards 2013 Finalist

Pat McCarthy (GMTO)

"The Giant Magellan Telescope Project"

Abstract. The Giant Magellan Telescope project is an international collaboration to design, build and operate a 25m telescope for research in exoplanet science, general astrophysics and cosmology. The consortium is composed of the ANU, Astronomy Australia Limited, the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute and several US universities and research institutes. The GMT primary mirror is comprised of seven 8.4m diameter segments, providing both a collecting area and diffraction-limited image concentration that are an order of magnitude better than those offered by current facilities. The telescope will be located at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile and will access the same region of the sky as SkyMapper, LSST, MWA/SKA, ALMA and a number of other surveys and front-line facilities.

I will review the scientific goals of the project and the current technical status. The project has recently passed a series of rigorous design and cost reviews and is preparing to start the construction phase. The GMT will have the widest field of view of any of the proposed ELTs. Adaptive optics is integral to the telescope via a segmented adaptive secondary mirror. These attributes will position GMT to advance astrophysics on a broad front, addressing key problems in the study of potentially habitable planets, galaxy and structure formation, chemical evolution in the Milky Way, as well as cosmology and fundamental physics.

Held in the AAO Large Meeting Room (Room 1, Ground Floor, Building 3) at 02:00 PM on Monday, 10 March 2014