Corning Incorporated (NYSE:GLW) today announced that it will manufacture the secondary mirror substrate for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). The 8.4-meter LSST is a ground-based facility that is expected to see first light from Cerro Pachón, Chile, in 2014. It will produce a panoramic digital movie as it surveys the entire visible sky every week with its 3,200-mega-pixel camera.
The LSST secondary mirror will be manufactured in Corning’s Canton, N.Y., facility and made from Corning ULE®, a specialty glass known for its low thermal expansion properties. The process to manufacture the 3.47-meter, 100-milimeter-thick ULE blank is fairly extensive, requiring deep materials understanding and rigorous manufacturing discipline. Material selection and preparation for seal operations began in September 2008. Corning is on schedule to complete the mirror in late 2009.
“Corning has a rich history of supplying monolithic glass blanks for large telescopes that dates back to the 200-inch disk for the Hale telescope at the Mount Palomar Observatory in 1934,” said Andy Filson, director of advanced optics, Corning Specialty Materials. “We are proud to continue our advancements in this area by being a part of the LSST project.”
Corning has utilized its manufacturing expertise for several large telescopes in the past, including the 8-meter primary mirrors for the Gemini and Subaru telescope projects, as well as the 4-meter primary mirrors for the Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) and Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT) projects.
The new LSST system will combine a wide field of view, rapid scans of the sky, and deep-imaging capability to map billions of objects and monitor changes in brightness and position. Scientists, as well as casual observers with access to the Internet, can actively participate in LSST’s mission of mapping the structure of all matter in our dynamic universe.