Today, the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) is inaugurated as the world’s largest operational telescope. The 10.4 metre mirror, made up of 36 individual hexagons working as one, beats the previous title holder, the twin Keck 10 metre telescopes in Hawaii.
The reign of the GTC may be cut short, however, as Hawaii has already been chosen as the site of the Thirty Metre Telescope, due to start operations in 2018. Other projects in the works are the 24 metre Giant Magellen Telescope, planned to open its eye over Chile and the 42 metre Extremely Large Telescope, which has yet to choose a site.
The GTC is run by a partnership of Spain, Mexico and the University of Florida.