In the year 2020, seven of the largest mirrors on Earth — 20 tons each — will come together in a 22-story, rotating building located in the southern Atacama Desert of Chile. They will form the Giant Magellan Telescope, a feat of science, technology, engineering and math that will have ten times the resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope.
In this video from July 2013, Dr. Wendy Freedman, Chairman GMT, and Dr. Pat McCarthy, Director GMT, explain the astounding challenge of creating this precise, powerful, and wondrous machine. Read more at Phys.org.
In the archives: more telescope-related vids.
From a yard in Kampala, Uganda, Moses explains how to build a solar oven using a tire, some glass, newspaper, silver foil, tape, a black pot, and a few hours.
If you’re cooking outside or don’t have an oven, solar ovens are a great alternative for making a hot meal. Building materials are generally inexpensive and easy to find, and rather than requiring fuel or firewood, solar ovens take advantage of a sustainable resource: the sun. How does it work?
- Concentrating sunlight: A reflective mirror of polished glass, metal or metallised film concentrates light and heat from the sun on a small cooking area, making the energy more concentrated and increasing its heating power.
- Converting light to heat: A black or low reflectivity surface on a food container or the inside of a solar cooker improves the effectiveness of turning light into heat. Light absorption converts the sun’s visible light into heat, substantially improving the effectiveness of the cooker.
- Trapping heat: It is important to reduce convection by isolating the air inside the cooker from the air outside the cooker. A plastic bag or tightly sealed glass cover traps the hot air inside. This makes it possible to reach temperatures on cold and windy days similar to those possible on hot days.
- Greenhouse effect: Glass transmits visible light but blocks infrared thermal radiation from escaping. This amplifies the heat trapping effect.
For more information about how to make different kinds of solar ovens, visit MAKE or Instructables, or come up with your own solution!
There are more inventions and sustainable ideas in the archives, including Spain’s first 24/7 Concentrated Solar Thermal Power plant.
A jazzy score, handmade craftsmanship, factories, machines, the 1950s, and glass; director Bert Haanstra's 1959 Oscar winning documentary short, Glas, is the perfect combination of so many fascinating subjects. Watch artisans at Royal Leerdam Glass Factory back-to-back with machines used in automated bottle making.
Bonus: The Netherlands. Now we know that "He, kijk uit!" means “Hey, watch out!”.
Previously: a state-of-the-art glass factory in Vietnam, making a glass fish replica, and an Italian glass blower sculpts a horse (in less than 90 seconds).