Scientists are casting one of the largest telescope mirrors ever made on Earth

Scientists began casting one of the largest telescope mirrors ever made on Earth for the giant Magellanic telescope built in Chile on Friday.
Why it's important: The giant telescope is set to one day look into the atmosphere of potentially habitable planets around distant stars, learn more about early galaxies, and study other objects of interest.
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What happens: The mirror is made in Arizona with the only spinning furnace in the world designed for this type of casting.
On Saturday, the oven will hit "high fire", spinning at five revolutions per minute and heating the glass to 2,129 degrees Fahrenheit for about five hours to liquefy it.
After this peak of warming, the glass gradually cools for about a month while the stove rotates more slowly and finally reaches room temperature about 2.5 months after the high fire.
"After cooling, the mirror is polished for two years before an optical surface accuracy of less than a thousandth the width of a human hair or five times smaller than a single coronavirus particle is achieved," wrote the GMT organization in a press release.
What's next? The first two mirrors of the GMT are finished and stored, three more are still being processed. The seventh and final mirror is to be cast in 2023.
The team behind the telescope is also planning to make an eighth mirror to replace it.
The telescope is expected to see the first light in 2029.
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