TMT will couple unprecedented light collection area with diffraction-limited spatial resolution.
The core of the TMT Observatory will be a wide-field, alt-az Ritchey-Chretien telescope with a 492 segment, 30 meter diameter primary mirror, a fully active secondary mirror and an articulated tertiary mirror. The optical beam of this telescope will feed a constellation of adaptive optics (AO) systems and science instruments mounted on large Nasmyth platforms surrounding the telescope azimuth structure. These platforms will be large enough to support at least eight different AO/instrument combinations (depending on exact volume and mass parameters) covering a broad range of spatial and spectral resolution. To support and maintain these technical systems, a comprehensive set of support facilities is included in the basic observatory design.
TMT will couple unprecedented light collection area (almost 10 times more than one of the Keck telescopes) with diffraction-limited spatial resolution that exceeds Keck by a factor of 3. Relative to the Hubble Space Telescope (arguably the most revolutionary astronomical instrument of our generation), TMT will have 144 times the collecting area and more than a factor of 10 better spatial resolution at near-infrared and longer wavelengths.