The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) has selected Schott to build the 4 metre primary mirror blank for the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST), which will be the world's largest solar telescope. To obtain ultra-sharp images of the flaming celestial sphere, researchers need a cool and undistorted view. The primary mirror substrate that is as thin as 76mm and 4.25 metres in diameter will be made out of Zerodur from Schott. The glass-ceramic with zero thermal expansion already delivers exact measurement data and precise images in solar telescopes like GREGOR, Sunrise and Big Bear New Solar Telescope.
Astronomers plan to build the world's largest solar telescope on Haleakalâ, Maui, Hawaii. The air is exceptionally clear, dry and still here, in the middle of the Pacific, more than 3,000m above sea level – ideal conditions for a terrestrial telescope to observe the full scope of electromagnetic activities on the surface of the sun. The project is funded by the US National Science Foundation. Construction of the ATST is scheduled to begin following the permitting process of the Hawaiian Department of Land and Natural Resources with operation anticipated to commence in 2018.