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California-Based GMTO Consortium Raises $205M for Ground Optical Telescope Project

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A Pasadena, California-based consortium of universities and research institutions representing five countries has raised $205 million to continue the development of a 12-story optical structure that will use multiple scientific instruments intended for ground-based astronomical research.

GMTO Corp. said Tuesday the recent funding round for the Giant Magellan Telescope project secured investments from the Carnegie Institution for Science, Harvard University, University of Arizona, University of Chicago, University of Texas and the Sao Paulo Research Foundation in Brazil.

The telescope, which will be installed at Carnegie-run Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, is designed to help astronomers collect scientific data and capture imagery of outer space objects.

Funds raised will support the production of the structure, its primary mirrors and a spectrograph instrument at various locations within the U.S.

The GMTO consortium estimates the spatial resolution of GMT will be four times higher than that of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, which launched Dec. 25.