Although for astronomical observations
the weather last winter has been rather poor, this has not hampered fast
progress in the construction of the various new facilities, which also continued
over the summer. The dome and annex building of the 10-m GTC have made remarkable
progress. The dome is nearly fully completed at the time of writing. The
dome of this grand facility is now fully silhouetted against the horizon
when seen from the ING telescopes site.
The construction of the MAGIC Cherenkov telescope has also been remarkably
speedy. The open, unprotected telescope structure was erected in only a few
weeks and will soon receive the mirror surface elements. This will most definitely
add a bright sparkle to its appearance under the Canarian sunshine. You can’t
miss it when driving up from the Residencia!
Also the Liverpool Robotic Telescope is making good progress. Following
completion of the ground works and foundations, the dome work is now at a
very advanced stage. The telescope structure will be erected soon.
Maybe less noticeable but not less impressive are the developments in the
Swedish Solar Telescope, where the original telescope has now been replaced
by a new telescope within the existing tower. The new telescope’s optics,
with a 97cm entrance pupil, is twice the size of the old telescope.
Looking towards the future potential of the ORM site, a site testing tower
for solar observations has been erected not far from the WHT. This tower holds
a solar DIMM (Differential Image Motion Monitor) and is operated by NOAO
in support of a general site testing campaign for a future large solar telescope.
Also in the future plans for an extremely large telescope exist for the
ORM. The EURO-50 project, proposing a 50-m optical/IR telescope, is one of
several projects that are being studied world-wide. The artist’s impression
below shows the scale of such an installation in comparison with other facilites