arrow-downarrow-leftarrow-rightarrow-upchevron-upchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-upclosecomment-newemail-newgallerygridheadphones-newheart-filledheart-openmap-geolocatormap-pushpinArtboard 1Artboard 1Artboard 1minusng-borderpauseplayplusreplayscreensharefacebookgithubArtboard 1Artboard 1linkedinlinkedin_inpinterestpinterest_psnapchatsnapchat_2tumblrtwittervimeovinewhatsappspeakerstar-filledstar-openzoom-in-newzoom-out-new

Astronomical Mirrors Open Deep Window Into the Early Universe

At a mirror-making lab, discoveries depend on a hair's width of polished perfection.

The universe doesn't spill its secrets easily, say scientists who are making immense mirrors meant to be the engines of future astronomical discoveries.

In a look at the Steward Observatory Mirror Laboratory at the University of Arizona, in Tucson, we meet people on a quest for near perfection: making telescope mirrors with impossibly polished surfaces, smoothed down to a billionth of an inch (0.0254 nanometers).

Some of the mirrors will stretch 26 feet (7.9 meters) across, a technical tour de force necessary for observatories to peer farther into space, and thus further back in time, where they can glimpse the epoch of the oldest galaxies.

Comment on This Story