A Deeper View of the Cosmos

Peter Gwynne

Built on advances in optical and photonic technology, the new generation of telescopes coming online this decade will tackle key questions about the nature of the universe.

figureOne of the seven primary mirrors of the Giant Magellan Telescope, under construction. [Giant Magellan Telescope – GMTO Corp.]

During the 2020s, a series of optical telescopes—some already online, some under construction, and some on the drawing boards—promises to dramatically expand humanity’s view of the universe. Based on Earth or in space, and gathering light at a range of wavelengths, the new observatories will harvest data bearing on key astronomical and astrophysical questions: the 3D structure of the universe; the composition of exoplanet atmospheres; the characteristics of the first galaxies, dark energy and dark matter.

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