Corning Incorporated has completed the first of two 8.1-meter primary mirror blanks for the Gemini Project telescope. The Gemini project is an international partnership of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil.
The Gemini project is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. AURA also operates the National Optical Astronomy Observatories and the Space Telescope Science Institute. The first telescope will be built on Mauna Kea, Hawaii.
Both Gemini mirror blanks are being produced at Corning's Canton, N.Y., facility. The mirror blanks are manufactured by fusing hexagonal pieces of ULE zero-expansion glass in a high-temperature furnace. The Gemini II mirror blank is scheduled for delivery in 1997.
Corning has a long history of large telescope mirror blank manufacturing, having fabricated the largest mirror blank of its time for the Mt. Palomar Observatory in 1934. In 1994 Corning completed the world's largest (8.3 meter) mirror blank for the Subaru Telescope (Japanese National Large Telescope).
Corning is a leading worldwide developer, manufacturer, and supplier of specialty glass and ceramic products. The Fortune 200 company operates in four business segments: specialty materials, communications, laboratory services, and consumer products.
Note: ULE is a trademark of Corning Incorporated.