On the Canary Island of La Palma, scientists from the University of Wuerzburg (Germany) have erected a new type of telescope for the study of space. With a diameter of 17 m, this telescope is the largest of its kind in the world.
It consists of 1,000 diamond-cut aluminium refractor mirrors, each sized 50 x 50 cm. Four refractor mirrors are set on each selectively controllable panel.
In close cooperation with the Max Planck Institute of Physics, MERO developed the ultra-light space frame structure of MERO ball nodes and beams made of carbon fiber material supporting the refractor. The four layer space frame structure has a total height of approx. 4,4 m.
With a grid of 1.0 x 1.0 m, the top layer of the space frame system corresponds to the geometrical dimensions of the refractor panels. During the fabrication of the beams, the cones were cemented to the ends of the carbon tubes in a special process. Numerous tests were performed in the MERO laboratories in order to study the load bearing performance of the carbon beams and bonded joints.
Scientists hope that the MAGIC telescope will give them an opportunity to study the gamma radiation originating from astronomical phenomena like supernovae or black holes. Apart from the University of Wuerzburg, two other German institutions, the University of Siegen and the Max Planck Institute of Physics, Munich, have cooperated on this great feat of technology.
Location: La Palma, Spain
Client: Max Planck Institute of Physics, Munich
Scope of Work: Substructure of the 17 m telescope
Cladding: Diamond-cut aluminum refractor facets
Type of Structure: MERO carbon fiber space frame structure