University of Arizona Mirror Lab

University of Arizona Mirror Lab

This is an excerpt  from the University of Arizona website. At the University of Arizona’s Richard F. Caris Mirror Laboratory, a team of scientists and engineers are making giant, lightweight mirrors of unprecedented power for a new generation of optical telescopes.

These mirrors represent a radical departure from the conventional solid-glass mirrors used in the past. They have a honeycomb structure on the inside; made out of Ohara E6-type borosilicate glass that is melted, molded and spun cast into the shape of a paraboloid in a custom-designed rotating oven. Honeycomb mirrors offer the advantages of their solid counterparts – rigidity and stability – but they can be significantly larger, and dramatically lighter.

The Mirror Lab team has also developed a revolutionary new method to polish the honeycomb mirrors with a deeply curved, parabolic surface that results in much shorter focal lengths than conventional mirrors.


NARCON has arranged for two tours of the University of Arizona’s Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab on Friday, March 6, 2020.  The tours are at 11:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.  Each tour can accommodate 30 people.  The price for the tour is $18.00 per person.  Please note that we will release unreserved tour slots on January 31.  Individuals wishing to participate in the tour after that date will need to make their own tour reservations directly with the mirror lab.

The tour takes you through a large-scale scientific research and development facility.  A portion of the tour involves walking, as well as climbing and descending stairs.  The laboratory requires guests to wear closed toe shoes for safety and comfort; you mat not be permitted to attend the tour without closed toe shoes.  Sneakers are recommended for ease, safety, and comfort.  The minimum age for the tour is 10 years old and minors must be accompanied by an adult.  If you have questions about accessibility or disability related accommodations  please contact Vannessa Gressieux at 520-626-8792 or rfcml.tours@gmail.com.

NARCON 2020 will provide directions and parking instructions in the packet for registered individuals.

 See the process of making a giant mirror

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