PHOTOS: World's Largest Telescope Unveiled

PHOTOS: World's Largest Telescope Unveiled
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Cables feed into the steel structure supporting the GTC's system of mirrors in a close-up.

In addition to solving the mirror's weight problem, having many smaller segments allows the GTC to practice a relatively new observing technique called adaptive optics. Each of the 36 small mirrors can be moved and ever-so-slightly reshaped thousands of times a second to correct for the blurring effect Earth's atmosphere has on light from distant objects.

This technique combined with the size of its main mirror should allow the GTC to "see" black holes and galaxies millions of light-years away in unprecedented detail.
—Photograph courtesy Gran Telescopio Canarias
 
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