Specialized Optical Mirrors
Set to Unlock the Universe’s
Optical mirrors made of floated
borosilicate glass installed at
the Hobby-Eberly Telescope
Dark Energy Experiment will
help paint a more detailed
picture of dark energy
and the universe’s expansion.
BY TINA GALLO
SCHOTT NORTH AMERICA INC.
Large telescopes all across the world stare into the sky day and night, waiting to uncover the secrets of the
cosmos. For the Hobby-Eberly Telescope,
the world’s third-largest optical telescope,
located at The University of Texas at
Austin’s McDonald Observatory, that
means setting its sights on one of the
most mysterious forces in the universe —
Contrary to earlier beliefs that the
universe is static, it is now assumed that
it expands. The force driving this expansion, which seems faster than many scientists once thought possible, is dark energy,
and though we don’t know much about
this force, we do know that dark energy
and its counterpart, dark matter, make
up close to 95 percent of the universe
(about 74 and 21 percent, respectively).
Only about five percent of the universe
is made up of normal matter — the stars,
planets, and the gases that we can more
The mirror of the 9.2-meter Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HE T) is visible through the open louvers in this twilight view.