Giant Magellan Telescope Looking Toward Construction

Giant Magellan Telescope

The international consortium of the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) project has passed two major reviews and is positioned to enter the construction phase. When completed, the 25-meter GMT will have more than six times the collecting area of the largest telescopes today and ten times the resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope. Scientists will explore distant and potentially habitable planets around other stars, the universe in the first billion years after the Big Bang, and the mysteries of dark matter, dark energy and massive black holes.

The Carnegie Institution for Science is a founding partner of the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO).* During a week-long review in mid-January, an international panel of experts examined the telescope’s design, its complex optical systems and precision scientific instruments. The panel concluded that the project meets the technical readiness required to proceed to construction. Immediately following the design review, a team of construction experts scrutinized the project’s cost estimate and management plan. Both review panels endorsed the team’s cost estimate and their approach to managing construction of the telescope atop a remote mountain peak in the Chilean Andes.


The Discovery of the Star Gliese 667 Cc Makes the American Physical Society Newsmakers List of 2013

The Discovery of the Star Gliese 667 Cc  Makes the American Physical Society Newsmakers List of 2013

Each year, the American Physical Society (APS) News sifts through the past year’s science headlines to decide which physics news garnered the most publicity worldwide. Included on this prestigious list is a collaborative observation campaign of the star Gliese 667 Cc between the Institute for Astronomy (IfA), the Carnegie Institution for Science, DTM and the University of California Santa Cruz. This collaboration includes former DTM postdoctoral fellows, Nader Haghighipour and Guillem Anglada-Escudé, alongside their former supervisor, Paul Butler.

Gliese 667 Cc is a triple-star system in the constellation of Scorpius, whose exoplanets are smaller than the Sun and orbit the star within a safe distance. In the November issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), scientists estimate that one in five sun-like stars in the galaxy, like Gliese 667 Cc, have planets in their habitable zones, meaning there could be an inhabited planet within only 12 light-years of Earth. (PNAS)


Images from MESSENGER Enable Sky & Telescope to Build the First Complete Globe of the Planet Mercury

Rachmaninoff Crater

The first complete globe of Mercury, our solar system's mysterious innermost planet, has been pieced together by Sky & Telescope using the latest images taken by the MESSENGER spacecraft.

MESSENGER, short for Mercury, Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging, is the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury. It followed a path through the inner solar system, including one flyby of Earth, two flybys of Venus and three flybys of Mercury and ended in its final orbit circling Mercury in March 2011. Since then, MESSENGER has taken thousands of images of Mercury's surface from different distances and illumination conditions to indicate the many different types of depressions scattering its landscape.


Long Lost Moon of Jupiter Found

Scott Sheppard

These three images show the rediscovery of S/2000 J11 from the Magellan telescope at Las Campanas, Chile. Each image was taken about 30 minutes apart, which allows the Jupiter moon S/2000 J11, marked by a green box, to be seen moving relative to the steady-state of background stars. Jupiter is out of the field-of-view but Jupiter's bright glare can be seen on the left side of the images.

Now, Scott S. Sheppard has solved the puzzle by rediscovering S/2000 J11 in images obtained at the Magellan Telescope in 2010 and 2011. What was originally to be a new moon of Jupiter was linked to the lost Jupiter moon S/2000 J11 by Marina Brozovic and Robert Jacobson at NASAs JPL and Gareth Williams at the Minor Planet Center.


Postdoc Spotlight - Timothy J. Rodigas

Magellan Clay Telescope

Like most kids, Timothy J. Rodigas (he goes by T.J. informally) did not enjoy his math and science classes growing up. And like most parents, his tried to get him to enjoy his studies more by giving him his own copy of Eyewitness: Astronomy, a children’s science book packed full of colorful prints and fun facts about the Universe. Reading this book, T.J. began his first exploration of the planets, stars, and long-unsolved scientific mysteries. Little did he know he’d eventually make this new passion his career.


Linda Elkins-Tanton's Proposal to Visit the Core of Proto-planet 16 Psyche is Featured in Several Online Publications

asteroid Psyche

The huge metallic asteroid Psyche, thought to be the exposed iron core of a battered and stripped protoplanet, is now the center of a proposed mission from DTM Director, Linda Elkins-Tanton. and NewScientist have both highlighted this far-out mission.