Magellan Telescopes

Coordinates: 29°00′54″S 70°41′30″W / 29.015°S 70.6917°W / -29.015; -70.6917
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Magellan Telescopes
Named afterWalter Baade, Landon T. Clay Edit this on Wikidata
Part ofLas Campanas Observatory Edit this on Wikidata
Location(s)Atacama Region, Chile
Coordinates29°00′54″S 70°41′30″W / 29.015°S 70.6917°W / -29.015; -70.6917 Edit this at Wikidata
OrganizationCarnegie Institution for Science Edit this on Wikidata
Altitude2,516 m (8,255 ft) Edit this at Wikidata
First light15 September 2001, 7 September 2002 Edit this on Wikidata
Telescope styleGregorian telescope
optical telescope Edit this on Wikidata
Number of telescopesEdit this on Wikidata
Diameter6.5 m (21 ft 4 in) Edit this at Wikidata
Magellan Telescopes is located in Chile
Magellan Telescopes
Location of Magellan Telescopes
  Related media on Commons

The Magellan Telescopes are a pair of 6.5-metre-diameter (21 ft) optical telescopes located at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. The two telescopes are named after the astronomer Walter Baade and the philanthropist Landon T. Clay. First light for the telescopes was on September 15, 2000 for the Baade, and September 7, 2002 for the Clay. A consortium consisting of the Carnegie Institution for Science, University of Arizona, Harvard University, the University of Michigan and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology built and operate the twin telescopes. The telescopes were named after the sixteenth-century Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) is an extremely large telescope under construction, as part of the US Extremely Large Telescope Program.[1]

Current instruments on the Magellan Telescopes[edit]

Baade telescope:

  • Inamori Magellan Areal Camera and Spectrograph (IMACS)
  • FourStar
  • Folded port InfraRed Echellette (FIRE)
  • Magellan Echellete (MagE)

Clay telescope:

  • Magellan Inamori Kyocera Echelle (MIKE) spectrograph
  • Low-Dispersion Survey Spectrograph-3 (LDSS-3)
  • Megacam imager
  • MagAO
  • Michigan/Magellan Fiber System (M2FS)

Magellan Planet Search Program[edit]

This program is a survey of stars searching for planets using the MIKE echelle spectrograph mounted on the 6.5 m Magellan II (Clay) telescope.[2][3]

MagAO Adaptive Optics System[edit]

In 2013, Clay (Magellan II) was equipped with an adaptive secondary mirror called MagAO which allowed it to take the sharpest visible-light images to date, capable of resolving objects 0.02 arcseconds across—equivalent to a dime (1.8 cm) seen from 100 miles (160 km) away.[4]

MagAO was originally intended for the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT), but the secondary mirror was damaged before it could be installed. The project leader Laird Close and his team were able to repair and repurpose the broken mirror for use on Magellan II. As built for the LBT, the original MagAO mirror had a diameter of 36 inches (0.91 m). However, the edge of the mirror was broken. Technicians at Steward Observatory were able to cut the mirror to 33.5 inches (0.85 m) in diameter, thereby removing the broken edge.[5]


Comparison of nominal sizes of apertures of the Magellan Telescopes and some notable optical telescopes

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Harvard & Smithsonian (6 February 2022). "Mission Critical: Giant Magellan Telescope Ranked a National Priority". SciTechDaily. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  2. ^ Minniti, Dante; Butler, R. Paul; López-Morales, Mercedes; Shectman, Stephen A.; Adams, Fred C.; Arriagada, Pamela; Boss, Alan P.; Chambers, John E. (2009). "Low Mass Companions for Five Solar-Type Stars from the Magellan Planet Search Program". The Astrophysical Journal. 693 (2): 1424–1430. arXiv:0810.5348. Bibcode:2009ApJ...693.1424M. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/693/2/1424. S2CID 119224845.
  3. ^ Arriagada, Pamela; Butler, R. Paul; Minniti, Dante; López-Morales, Mercedes; Shectman, Stephen A.; Adams, Fred C.; Boss, Alan P.; Chambers, John E. (2010). "Five Long-Period Extrasolar Planets in Eccentric Orbits from the Magellan Planet Search Program". The Astrophysical Journal. 711 (2): 1229–1235. arXiv:1001.4093. Bibcode:2010ApJ...711.1229A. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/711/2/1229. S2CID 118682009.
  4. ^ Wall, Mike (21 August 2013). "New Telescope Tech Takes Sharpest Night Sky Photos Ever". Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  5. ^ Beal, Tom (22 August 2013). "University of Arizona astronomers see more clearly than ever". Arizona Daily Star. Archived from the original on 25 August 2013. Retrieved 29 July 2020.

External links[edit]