The Discovery Channel is currently building a telescope that, when installed, will be the fifth largest in the United States. It's location will be at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff Arizona. It's anticipated completion will be in 2010. This is going to be a technologically sophisticated telescope.
And one of the great things about this telescope is of course that it is being made by the Discovery channel which means we are going to get an inside look at the making of it. Nice! And big kudos to DC for doing this. This is a partnership project between Lowell Observatory and the Discovery Channel and there are lots of resources to learning more about it.
Here is the official website The Discovery Channel Telescope - There you can find lots of pictures of the dome, the mirror, the grounds and engineering renditions. Pretty nice stuff and most of the architectural work is done and now they are waiting for the telescope.
And here is a great video that shows the mirror currently being ground. Grinding the Mirror -
Some facts about the mirror itself:
- 14 feet in Diameter (4.2 meters)
- 4 inches thick
- 7k pounds in weight
- 5th largest in the Continental United States
The Telescopes Research Mission: Here are some quotes I pulled out of one of the official websites documents on the telescope:
"The DCT astronomical research mission will address fundamental questions about the evolution of the solar system, the formation and evolution of stellar and planetary systems, and the evolution of galactic building blocks such as dwarf galaxies".
"several advanced imaging surveys planned for the wide-field
PFC capability have been described1, including exploration of the Kuiper Belt, extending the search for Near-Earth Objects, and the study of Galactic clusters and OB associations".
All in all building a large telescope like this is a fascinating process because it encompasses so many disciplines like optics (of course) but also mechanical engineering, computer and network engineering and a whole host of other high tech disciplines.
About The Telescope
A short video of the mirror being ground