The University of Notre Dame announced today that it has joined the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) project. Notre Dame will receive viewing time on the LBT through an alliance with Research Corporation, a Tucson science advancement foundation that is a partner in the LBT. With this new relationship, Notre Dame becomes the third U.S. university system involved in the project, along with the University of Arizona and Ohio State University.
"Notre Dame's participation in the LBT provides clear testament to the scientific importance and achievement made possible through the completion of the most advanced telescope in the world. We are very pleased that Notre Dame will be part of this exciting endeavor," said Dick Powell, vice president for research at the University of Arizona.
In announcing the agreement, Jeffrey C. Kantor, Notre Dame's vice president and associate provost said, "The University of Notre Dame is thrilled to be a part of the LBT consortium. Our
participation in the LBT project will greatly enhance Notre Dame through a strengthened research program and brings us to a new level in our efforts to attract outstanding students and researchers in this cutting edge science."
Terrence W. Rettig, associate professor of physics at Notre Dame, was a leader in organizing Notre Dame's participation in the LBT. Rettig said, "By joining the LBT consortium through a partnership with Research Corporation, Notre Dame will take its place among the top astrophysics research programs in the country. Its specific design for high-resolution will make it the premier scientific observatory for imaging planets orbiting other stars. It also will lead in studies of the origin and evolution of stars, galaxies and the universe."
The LBT is in its third year of construction and is on schedule to begin observing in 2003. It is located on Mt. Graham near Safford, Ariz., and, upon completion, will be the most powerful
ground-based telescope in the world.
The LBT has an approximate construction budget of $80 million. The telescope will utilize two 8.4-meter (28 feet) mirrors, the first of which has already been cast at the University of Arizona's Mirror Lab. Partners in the LBT include the University of Arizona, Ohio State University, Research Corporation, a German consortium of astronomical research institutes and the Arcetri Astrophysical Institute on behalf of the Italian astronomical community.