Magellan Telescopes

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Magellan Telescopes
Organization Carnegie Institution of Washington
Location(s) Las Campanas Observatory, Chile
Coordinates 29°00.9′S 70°41.5′W / 29.0150°S 70.6917°W / -29.0150; -70.6917Coordinates: 29°00.9′S 70°41.5′W / 29.0150°S 70.6917°W / -29.0150; -70.6917
Altitude 2,516 m (8,254 ft)[1]
Wavelength Optical, near-IR
Built First lights September 15, 2000 and September 7, 2002
Diameter Both 6.5 m
Commons page Related media on Wikimedia Commons
Comparison of nominal sizes of primary mirrors of the Magellan Telescopes and some notable optical telescopes (click for detail)

The Magellan Telescopes are a pair of 6.5 m (21.3 ft) diameter 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 collaboration between 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.

It was named after the sixteenth-century Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

Magellan Planet Search Program[edit]

Is a survey of start searching for planets using the MIKE echelle spectrograph mounted on the 6.5m 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 100 miles 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 an diameter of 36 inches (910 mm). However, the edge of the mirror was broken. Technicians at Steward Observatory were able to cut the mirror to 33.5 inches (850 mm) in diameter, thereby removing the broken edge.[5]


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