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World map of the Giant Magellan Telescope international consortium showing locations and names of all 14 partners in the project
Giant Magellan Telescope international consortium map. | Image: Giant Magellan Telescope - GMTO Corporation

Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (ASIAA) in Taiwan has joined the Giant Magellan Telescope, announced today (Feb. 20) by officials with the Giant Magellan Telescope Corporation.

With the addition of ASIAA, a distinguished research institute under the National Academies of Taiwan, the Pasadena, Calif.-based global consortium expands to 14 international research institutions, including Texas A&M University as a founding partner.

Taiwan is the seventh country represented in the international project, joining Australia, Brazil, Chile, Israel, South Korea and the United States in building one of the world’s largest and most powerful telescopes while underscoring its significance to the global astronomy community and the consortium’s commitment to prioritizing global collaboration for the advancement of science.

“We are thrilled to welcome ASIAA into our international consortium of distinguished partners,” said Giant Magellan Telescope Board Chair Dr. Walter Massey. “Together, our consortium combines worldwide science expertise and engineering acumen to create a project that benefits all walks of research relating to the universe. This collective investment in the Giant Magellan Telescope is a testament that science can transcend boundaries and bind humanity together for good.”

Nighttime exterior Giant Magellan Telescope rendering with support site buildings in the foreground at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile’s Atacama Desert
Nighttime exterior Giant Magellan Telescope rendering with support site buildings in the foreground at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile’s Atacama Desert. | Image: Giant Magellan Telescope – GMTO Corporation

The astronomical research and instrumental development capabilities in Taiwan have received international recognition. ASIAA will contribute expertise in areas such as low noise and compact detector electronics, precision detector characterization technology, precision laser cutting technology, and many others. These contributions will prove invaluable once the telescope is commissioned in the early 2030s.

“ASIAA is delighted to be a part of the Giant Magellan Telescope consortium, and the Taiwanese scientific community is prepared to contribute its expertise while also benefiting from the wealth of knowledge within the consortium,” said ASIAA Director Dr. Ue-Li Pen. “Joining one of the 30-meter-class telescopes has been a long-term aspiration for Taiwanese astronomers, and Giant Magellan is considered the most suitable project for this endeavor. The collaboration between ASIAA and the Giant Magellan Telescope establishes a robust foundation for astronomical research in Taiwan, with a particular emphasis on nurturing the development of new generations in the field. We also anticipate that this project will deepen collaboration between Taiwan and the six other countries in the consortium."

Texas A&M is excited to welcome Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics. We look forward to working closely with our new colleagues from Taiwan to make the Giant Magellan Telescope a world-class facility.

Dr. Darren L. DePoy

Construction of the telescope advances rapidly in the Chilean Atacama Desert and in labs around the world. During the past year, fabrication commenced on the seventh and final primary mirror in Arizona, while manufacturing of the 39-meter-tall mount structure began in Illinois. Progress includes completion of the first of seven mirror covers in Germany, and near completion of the telescope’s first adaptive secondary mirror in France and Italy. Other advancements were made on a suite of high-resolution imagers and spectrographs in Arizona, Australia, California, Massachusetts, South Korea and Texas.

These optical technologies will enable the Giant Magellan to boast a remarkable tenfold increase in resolution compared to the Hubble Space Telescope and deliver up to 200 times the power of today’s best telescopes. The breakthrough technologies will empower scientists worldwide, offering unparalleled insights into the evolution of the universe, the origins of chemical elements and the discovery of life on distant exoplanets for the first time.

"Texas A&M is excited to welcome Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics," said Texas A&M astronomer and Founder's Representative Dr. Darren L. DePoy, associate dean for research infrastructure in the College of Arts and Sciences and a member of both the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the George P. and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy. "We look forward to working closely with our new colleagues from Taiwan to make the Giant Magellan Telescope a world-class facility."

ASIAA is one of 32 institutes and centers of Academia Sinica, a national research institution funded by the Presidential Office of Taiwan. As the leading astronomical institute in Taiwan, it is located on the campus of National Taiwan University at the center of the city of Taipei and is a member of several international projects, providing opportunities for Giant Magellan Telescope members to conduct observations or technical developments at world-leading facilities.

Illustration of the Giant Magellan Telescope reflecting the Chilean sunset
Artist's rendering of the Giant Magellan Telescope reflecting the Chilean sunset. When completed, the telescope's enclosure will stand 22 stories tall and encompass an area the size of three football fields. Because it will be located in one the highest and driest locations on Earth, the Giant Magellan Telescope will offer spectacular observing conditions for more than 300 nights a year. | Image: Giant Magellan Telescope - GMTO Corporation

News of ASIAA’s inclusion into the Giant Magellan Telescope’s international consortium was celebrated by elected officials in the United States dedicated to scientific advancements, democratic values and international partnerships.

U.S. Senator of Arizona and former NASA Astronaut Mark Kelly emphasized how science collaborations can strengthen international relations. “Arizona has long been a leader in astronomy and optical research, and thanks to key contributions from the University of Arizona and Arizona State University, the Giant Magellan Telescope will lead the way making the next generation of discoveries in astronomy,” said Senator Kelly. “We welcome the newest collaborators from Taiwan to the Giant Magellan consortium and look forward to strengthening ties between Arizona and Taiwan through our shared commitment to democracy, education, and innovation.”

U.S. Congressman of Texas and Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Michael T. McCaul, also emphasized the significance of supporting large international research initiatives. “I’m glad our friends in Taiwan have joined this important project, which includes top-notch research institutions like Texas A&M and The University of Texas,” said Congressman McCaul. “The Giant Magellan Telescope will be a groundbreaking observatory that will expand our knowledge of the universe and enable the US to maintain its dominance in ground-based optical and infrared astronomy.”

ASIAA joins Arizona State University, Astronomy Australia Ltd., Australian National University, Carnegie Institution for Science, Harvard University, Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute, São Paulo Research Foundation, Smithsonian Institution, Texas A&M University, The University of Texas at Austin, University of Arizona, University of Chicago and the Weizmann Institute of Science in building the Giant Magellan Telescope.

About Giant Magellan Telescope

The Giant Magellan Telescope is the future of space exploration from Earth. Using seven of the world’s largest mirrors, the 25.4-meter telescope will produce the most detailed images ever taken of our universe. It will uncover the cosmic mysteries of dark matter, investigate the origins of chemical elements, and verify signs of life on distant planets for the first time. Giant Magellan is the work of the GMTO Corporation, an international consortium of 14 research institutions representing Australia, Brazil, Chile, Israel, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States. The telescope is under construction in Chile and anticipated to be completed in the early 2030s. The Universe Awaits™ at