Press Release

Steward Observatory Lab Casts 6.5-m Mirror for San Pedro Martir Telescope

By SpaceRef Editor
August 12, 2009
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An international collaboration of astronomers from the United States and Mexico will gather at the University of Arizona Steward Observatory Mirror Laboratory in Tucson on Aug. 26 to celebrate the casting of a 6.5-meter mirror they plan to use in a proposed infrared sky survey at one of the darkest sky sites in the world.

Steward Observatory is casting the 6.5-meter (21.3-foot) “honeycomb” sandwich mirror for a future telescope planned for San Pedro Martir Observatory in Baja California, Mexico. The telescope is called the San Pedro Martir Telescope, or SPMT.

Project partners are Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, known as UNAM, the University of California, the Instituto Nacional de Astrofisica, Optica y Electronica, known as INAOE, and the UA.

The group intends to survey the entire northern sky repeatedly at infrared wavelengths to reveal the most distant objects in the universe and the dynamic night sky as never before with their project, called the Synoptic All-Sky Infrared Imaging Survey, or SASIR.

More information about the SASIR project and links to the partner institutions is online at
More information about the Steward Observatory Mirror Laboratory is online at

Reporters are invited to interview U.S. and Mexican scientists about the project at the Mirror Lab between 10 a.m. and noon Wednesday, Aug. 26. That is when temperatures inside the giant rotating furnace are expected to reach 1,180 degrees C (2,156 F), and borosilicate glass melts and fills the mold. The hexagonal cores of the mold create the lightweight honeycomb structure.

Media representatives planning to attend should notify Lori Stiles, 1-520-626-4402, or Rebecca Ruiz-McGill, 1-520-621-1878, , UA Office of University Communications.

SpaceRef staff editor.