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World’s largest telescope: mirrors polished at Glyndŵr University - now complete

World leading scientists at Glyndŵr University have completed polishing the prototype mirrors for the world’s largest telescope

It’s taken four years for the team at the OpTIC Centre in St Asaph to complete the task, polishing the mirrors down to 7.5 nanometres in size – the size of a haemoglobin module.

The completion of the mirrors is a significant milestone and the University now looks forward to continuing into the next phase of the project. Project leader Caroline Gray said

'This has been another major success for the ESO project team and for the University, further securing our reputation as a world class optical manufacturing group. We have come a long way but works starts now on taking what we’ve learned to the next level.’

Glyndŵr was chosen by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) for its world leading expertise in opto-electronics. Last year the group received global acclaim for polishing the 1.5m optic down to just 7.5 nanometres, the best measurement ever managed in the UK. It was the first time such a feat has ever been achieved using computer-operated machinery, coupled with Glyndŵr University’s unique polishing process and metrology system.

The £900m European-Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) is due to be completed in 2024 and will be the largest in the world. With it’s ‘eye’ almost half the length of a football pitch in diameter, it will be able to gather 15 times more light than the largest telescopes around today. Once completed, it will sit on Mount Cerro Armazones in Chile.

For more information, go to Glyndŵr University’s website.