Telescopes from the Ground Up

Multi-mirror Telescopes

In the 1970s, several research institutions designed different kinds of telescopes with multiple mirrors. One group built a telescope using six individual mirrors held in a single mounting. Another group of astronomers decided to piece together 36 individual mirror parts, or segments, into one gigantic mirror.

Get to the root of it

Just as these multiple-mirror telescopes began operation, scientists developed a new way to make large mirrors. Instead of grinding a solid slab of glass, they spun molten glass in a mold to create the final shape of the mirror.

Soon telescopes with single mirrors from 6 to over 8 meters in diameter were being built. Today astronomers plan to use these giant mirrors in new multiple-mirror telescopes. The Large Binocular Telescope, being built in Arizona, will combine two of these large mirrors to form an image.

Click here to see all avaliable eras.