How do They Make a Telescope Mirror

You might have seen how small – photographic lenses are made, but how do you make the optics for a giant telescope? This National Geographic video takes a look at the fascinating process you probably never seen before.

Underneath the University of Arizona football stadium hides the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab. In this hidden place giant mirrors are shaped and polished, to be used by telescopes all over the world. This is one of only very few places on the face of the planet which has the capability to create these giant optical pieces each with a surface polished down to a billionth of a meter.

In the past we covered many other videos showing you how different manufacturers develop, build and test lenses (typically photographic lenses). We covered Nikon’s glass development video on “Nikon Lens Craftsmanship“, “How does the Glass for Nikon Lenses is Made”, “How Does Panasonic Manufacture Lenses at the Yamagata Plant“, “How Does Sigma Manufacture Lenses (part 1 and part 2)”, “Carl Zeiss – Manufacturing the new Touit lenses“, and finally “How Leica Lenses are Made“.

You can find many more videos showing the manufacturing process of photography equipment  on our dedicated “how do they make it” section here on LensVid.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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