CANTON, N.Y.-- Corning’s glass arrived at the summit of Cerro Pachón, Chile, last week to help unravel the mysteries of the universe as part of a mirror for a new telescope. Data and images from the telescope will answer some of humankind’s deepest questions about the heavens: what’s out there and how did it get there. It will scan the sky for evidence of dark matter, catalog the solar system through high-resolution photos, and provide information about the structure and formation of the Milky Way.
“Discoveries that will be written about in history books are being enabled by our materials and processes,” said Larry Sutton, product line manager, advanced products.
The telescope, known as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, currently under construction, will conduct a 10-year survey that will deliver a motion picture of half the sky using a tennis-court sized primary mirror, two additional mirrors, and the world’s largest digital camera. Corning’s glass will play an important role as the telescope takes the deepest, widest image of the universe in history.
“It’s big science,” Larry said.
The Corning glass that arrived was a 3.4-meter disc of ULE®, or ultra-low expansion glass, part of a secondary mirror in the system. A 70-inch disc of Corning’s HPFS® glass is also used in the camera system. The glass for the mirror required precise engineering for a unique application, but ULE has also proven to be incredibly versatile over its 75-year history. Applications range from ground-based astronomy to semiconductor chip manufacturing with extreme ultraviolet lithography.