Issue 9 • March, 2007
Thirty Meter Telescope

Project Manager's Corner: Scheduling TMT II
  Gary Sanders

Diane Trapp, TMT's scheduling expert.

Building the project's schedule really is building your plan. There are generally many ways to carry out a complex project. Building the schedule is a selection of one way to accomplish the project's goals. And it is your way. Build it well, build it simply, and build it with resilience, and it will serve you well.

Last month I described the basic starting points and requirements for a good project schedule. A schedule must be designed by experienced experts who will be responsible for delivering the results of their parts of the schedule. This is schedule ownership. A schedule must include every element of the work in the project organized around the project deliverables into a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). Finally, a project schedule starts with a definition of external milestones to be heeded (when funding is available, when the project must be completed, etc.) and an architecture for the working plan and schedule. This architecture flows down to the designers from the Project Manager.


Science Nugget—Exosolar Planetesimals
  Charles M. Telesco, Department of Astronomy, University of Florida

The impressive progress in discovering exoplanets, now numbering over 200, has resulted quite remarkably in our beginning to view these as complex "systems" with many interacting components. The several stars that have multiple planets clearly fall into this category, with enough information in some cases (e.g., GJ876; Fischer et al. 2003) to indicate, for example, resonant interactions among them. But a planetary system consists of more than the star and its planetary entourage. Gas, dust, asteroids, and comets percolate around and among the planets, and they have a fascinating story to tell. The evolving configuration of planetesimals so intimate to the formation of the planets determines, in non-trivial ways that are apparently heavily stochastic (Gomes et al. 2007), key planetary properties such as water content (and therefore life) in the habitable zone and the occurrence of global catastrophic events like the Solar System's Late Heavy Bombardment. Determining the nature and distribution of planetesimals in a young system is therefore a key constraint guiding our assessment of the multiple possible outcomes of the planet formation process.


Technology Nugget—Mirror Coatings
  Jerry Nelson, University of California Observatories/Lick Observatory at UC Santa Cruz, TMT Project Scientist

A common bathroom mirror gives no hint of the challenges of mirror coatings for a telescope. A bathroom mirror has a thin layer of silver behind a sheet of glass, and the back of the silver is then painted black to protect it. Put your finger on a bathroom mirror and you will see that there is a small gap between your finger and its image. This is twice the thickness of the glass. However, the glass that works so well here actually absorbs radiation in the infrared and in the ultraviolet, and that radiation is important to astronomy.


Q & A with David Goodman

David Goodman is our TMT Business Manager. David joined the project in September 2004 after an industry career in which he managed the business of large projects and complex international organizations. He is a former CFO and has extensive knowledge and experience in contracts, estimating, scheduling, accounting, finance, property management and budgeting.He was recently interviewed by Jeff Oram, the TMT Senior Cost Estimator.

Download David Goodman Interview
[13:37 min. 12.5 MB MP3]

Partner News—Our Name Has Changed

We are now the TMT Observatory Corporation. Our name has changed. While that, in itself, is significant, what is more significant is that our prior identity was really a corporation of cooperation and best efforts, and now it is becoming a real and legal entity. We are getting ready for the future and all that lies ahead.


ESO NEWS—New Adaptive Optics Technique Demonstrated
  First ever Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics at the VLT Achieves First Light

On the evening of 25 March 2007, the Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics Demonstrator (MAD) achieved First Light at the Visitor Focus of Melipal, the third Unit Telescope of the Very Large Telescope (VLT). MAD allowed the scientists to obtain images corrected for the blurring effect of atmospheric turbulence over the full 2x2 arcminute field of view. This world premiere shows the promises of a crucial technology for Extremely Large Telescopes.


Project News

For more information on the TMT science workshop (July 23-25, 2007, Beckman Center, Irvine, CA) announced in the January Newscast, please consult the workshop website at:

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You have received this issue of the TMT Newscast because of your previous professional contact with the Thirty Meter Telescope Project, the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) Inc., the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, or the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA).

TMT is supported in the United States by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the US National Science Foundation. Canadian funding is provided by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, the National Research Council of Canada, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund.

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Copyright © 2007 Thirty Meter Telescope Project, Pasadena, CA