International Team Receives $1.2M Grant for Magellan Telescope Work
- Dec 7, 2021
University of Texas astronomers and their global partners recently received nearly $1.2 million from the Heising-Simons Foundation to fund the MagNIFIES project, an instrument for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) under construction in the Atacama Desert in Chile. Once completed, the GMT will be the world’s most powerful telescope, capable of seeing billions of light-years into the universe with ten times the resolution of the famed Hubble Space Telescope.
The grant recipients belong to a consortium of leading universities and science institutions that includes researchers from Australia, Brazil, Israel, South Korea and institutions in the United States, including UT Austin and the McDonald Observatory. The team has collaborated for several years on the GMT and MagNIFIES, and likely will require additional years to ensure that the telescope and instrument work together.
MagNIFIES will allow astronomers to study the atmospheres of distant worlds in unprecedented detail. The instrument will provide scientists insight into the potential for hosting life on other planets by detecting whether oxygen may be present in their atmospheres.
“We believe we can revolutionize our understanding of young stars and the material from which the planets that orbit them are born,” explained Alycia Weinberger, staff scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science and one of the lead researchers for the project.