News FocusAstronomy

Telescope Builders Think Big--Really Big

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Science  18 Jun 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5422, pp. 1913-1915
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5422.1913

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BÄCKASKOG, SWEDEN-- Some astronomers have begun talking about bypassing the incremental approach that has led to today's 10-meter telescopes and taking an unprecedented leap to ones 25, 50, and even 100 meters across. The idea got its first airing last summer at a workshop on "maximum-aperture telescopes" in Madison, Wisconsin (Science, 4 September 1998, p. 1428) and was renewed here earlier this month. Meeting at the medieval Bäckaskog Castle in southern Sweden for a 2-day workshop organized by Lund University, some 70 astronomers, optical and structural engineers, and observatory directors turned over plenty of ideas about how to build a gargantuan telescope and found no obvious showstoppers.