Science: Six New Eyes On the Sky

An extraordinary telescope nears completion

Located atop a parched, rocky mountain some 40 miles south of Tucson, Ariz., the squat, rectangular building with the gaping hole in its sides and roof looks like a space-age barn. In fact, the strange structure is somewhat out of this world. Now in its final stage of testing, it is the prototype of a new generation of giant optical telescopes that could open fresh vistas on the heavens — and, by astronomy's standards, at bargain-basement prices.

A joint project of the University of Arizona and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory,...

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