The Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC), is a segmented primary mirror telescope with an area equivalent to a circular mirror of 10.4 m. in diameter. The primary mirror is composed by 36 hexagonal pieces. Apart from the primary mirror, two more mirrors are used to send the light to the foci, where the scientific instruments are placed.
The GTC is located at Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, La Palma (Canary Islands). The “First Light” event took place on July 13st, 2007. It is expected that the telescope will enter into scientific operations by late 2008.
The GTC Project is a Spanish initiative led by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC). The project is supported and funded by the Spanish Government and the Regional Government of the Canary Islands through the European Funds for Regional Development (FEDER) provided by the European Union. However, GTC is an international project that also includes the participation of Mexico, through the Instituto de Astronomía de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico (IA-UNAM) and the Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica y Electrónica (INAOE), and the USA through the University of Florida.