Jerry Nelson, an astronomer who designed advanced telescopes that help scientists glimpse far reaches of the universe, has died in California. He was 73.

The University of California, Santa Cruz, where Nelson was a professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics, says he died June 10 at his home. No cause was given.

Nelson's design using segmented mirrors is the basis for the Keck Observatory's twin 10-meter telescopes in Hawaii. His concept has since been used for other large ground-based telescopes around the world. The space-based James Webb telescope, which is under construction, also has a segmented primary mirror design.

Claire Max, director of UC Observatories, says astronomers will benefit from Nelson's legacy for many years to come.

He is survived by his wife, sister, two children and three grandchildren.


Get more earth & space news on at