Issue 16 • March/April, 2008
Thirty Meter Telescope

Thirty-Meter Telescope Focuses on Two Candidate Sites

PASADENA, Calif.--After completing a worldwide survey unprecedented in rigor and detail of astronomical sites for the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT), the TMT Observatory Corporation board of directors has selected two outstanding sites, one in each hemisphere, for further consideration. Cerro Armazones lies in Chile's Atacama Desert, and Mauna Kea is on Hawai'i Island.

The TMT observatory, which will be capable of peering back in space and time to the era when the first stars and galaxies were forming and will be able to directly image planets orbiting other stars, will herald a new generation of telescopes.


Project Manager's Corner: A New Leader for the National Optical Astronomy Observatory
 Gary H. Sanders, TMT Project Manager David Silva

TMT's own David Silva, our Observatory Scientist, has been named as the next Director of the US National Optical Astronomy Observatory. (The AURA announcement is attached). This is great recognition of what we already know; that David is a star and a leader in astronomy. Now he will lead the US's national observatory and take on an important role in assuring the success of the US astronomy enterprise.


Science with Giant Telescopes: Public Participation in TMT and GMT

At the request of the NSF in 2002, NOAO created a Giant Segmented Mirror Telescope Science Working Group (GSMT SWG). The main task of this community-based body is to develop the science case and justification for any investment by NSF or other federal agencies in the next generation of extremely large telescopes (ELTs).

To that end, the GSMT SWG has announced a workshop on public participation in the future ELT projects. The workshop will take place in Chicago on 15 - 18 June 2008. For more information, see the workshop web page.

Construction Review
  Paul Gillett

Imagine buying a complex model kit and finding that there are no instructions included. This is the case that every construction manager faces when planning the construction of a project.

Construction managers do have the advantage of experience of prior projects, and even with the unique aspects of each project, much of that experience provides the basic understanding required to build the project. When construction managers step outside their experience range, however, considerably more thought must go into the sequence of construction. 


Technology Nugget—Progress towards Prototyping the Tip/Tilt Correcting Stage for the TMT Adaptive Optics
  Brent Ellerbroek

Last month, the TMT Adaptive Optics group met (virtually) with our supplier CILAS to review their progress towards performing a prototype demonstration of the tip/tilt stage for the TMT adaptive optics system NFIRAOS. This stage will play the critical roll of providing real-time image motion compensation to correct for the effects of telescope vibration and the image wander introduced by the atmosphere itself. In order to obtain the sharpest possible images that are possible with a thirty-meter aperture, NFIRAOS must correct this random image motion to a residual level approximately one-two-hundredth the diameter of an uncorrected, blurry image of a star. This is about one-ten-thousandth of the distance that the star appears to move across the sky during an interval of just one second!


Q & A with Bill McVeigh

Bill McVeigh recently joined the TMT project to lead the implementation of the Project Management Controls System (PMCS) with a focus on the development of the Integrated Project Schedule (IPS) and Earned Value Management System (EVMS).

Bill has over 20 years experience designing and implementing project management systems on NSF, DOE and DOD projects, such as ALMA, ATST, NSLSII, the Superconducting Super Collider and the Joint Striker Fighter (JSF) program.

Bill was interviewed at the TMT office by Jeff Oram.

Download Interview
[14:53 min. 13.5MB MP3]

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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 © 2008 Thirty Meter Telescope Project, Pasadena, CA