Chile Diary 3 (or 1.5, to be more accurate): Magellan
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We visited the Magellan Observatory at Las Campanas, which is visible from La Silla, en route our trips to La Silla (Diary 1) and Paranal (Diary 2). This observatory is sponsored by a number of US institutions including the Carnegie Institute and Harvard, MIT, U of Michigan, and the U of Arizona.

A view of the Magellan twin domes, from the cafeteria where we had lunch

A view of the Magellan twin domes, from the cafeteria where we had lunch

The two Magellan telescopes were built in 2000 and 2002, using 6.5 meter mirrors fabricated at the U of Arizona mirror lab (which our FAW group toured in January). Nearby is the mountaintop where the Giant Magellan Telescope will be built; it will have seven 8.4 meter mirrors in one structure!

These mirrors are all made with the spin-cast technique of Roger Angel, first used to make the VATT mirror more than 20 years ago.

Karen, Ken, and Fernando inspecting the dome of one of the Magellan telescopes

Karen, Ken, and Fernando inspecting the dome of one of the Magellan telescopes

 

Br. Guy Consolmagno

About Br. Guy Consolmagno

Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ is Director of the the Vatican Observatory and President of the Vatican Observatory Foundation. A native of Detroit, Michigan, he earned undergraduate and masters' degrees from MIT, and a Ph. D. in Planetary Science from the University of Arizona; he was a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard and MIT, served in the US Peace Corps (Kenya), and taught university physics at Lafayette College before entering the Jesuits in 1989.

At the Vatican Observatory since 1993, his research explores connections between meteorites, asteroids, and the evolution of small solar system bodies, observing Kuiper Belt comets with the Vatican's 1.8 meter telescope in Arizona, and applying his measure of meteorite physical properties to understanding asteroid origins and structure. Along with more than 200 scientific publications, he is the author of a number of popular books including Turn Left at Orion (with Dan Davis), and most recently Would You Baptize an Extraterrestial? (with Father Paul Mueller, SJ). He also has hosted science programs for BBC Radio 4, been interviewed in numerous documentary films, appeared on The Colbert Report, and for more than ten years he has written a monthly science column for the British Catholic magazine, The Tablet.

Dr. Consolmagno's work has taken him to every continent on Earth; for example, in 1996 he spent six weeks collecting meteorites with a NASA team on the blue ice regions of East Antarctica. He has served on the governing boards of the Meteoritical Society; the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences (of which he was chair in 2006-2007); and IAU Commission 16 (Planets and Satellites). In 2000, the small bodies nomenclature committee of the IAU named an asteroid, 4597 Consolmagno, in recognition of his work. In 2014 he received the Carl Sagan Medal from the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences for excellence in public communication in planetary sciences.

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