Polishing Off a Mirror

May 27, 2015

LSST Mirror Transport

The only telescope mirror ever made that combines two mirrors in one piece of glass departed the University of Arizona's Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab on May 18 after spending seven years in various stages of production.

The mirror will form the centerpiece of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, or LSST, a revolutionary observatory slated to go up in Cerro Pachón in Chile. After funding was approved for the LSST last year, the telescope will see first light in 2019 and begin full science operations in 2022.

The LSST mirror is expected to remain in storage for about two years before it will be sent on its journey to Chile. To protect the one-of-a-kind dish against bumps during transport, it was mounted to an inner frame connected to an outer crate through "air springs," which resemble glorified tires, and other shock absorbers.