Xiamen, China – The seventh Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Science Forum was held for the first time in China, in the city of Xiamen, Province of Fujian, earlier this month.
The theme for this year’s 2019 Forum was "Science synergies in the era of the Thirty Meter Telescope.” More than 100 participants from the TMT partnership and beyond met on the beautiful campus of Xiamen University. The TMT Forum is a unique opportunity to learn about the Thirty Meter Telescope and get updated on its design and construction. This yearly event also provides an excellent opportunity for the TMT’s scientific community to become involved in shaping the observatory's future, its scientific instrumentation and operations.
The Forum agenda featured a series of invited presentations made by key speakers who reported on the state and future developments of major ground- and space-based astronomical facilities with considerable involvement of China, and described the synergetic science that will be made in the 2030s between these facilities and the TMT. Special emphasis was given to the Square-Kilometer-Array (SKA), the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST), the Chinese Space Station Telescope (CSST), the Guoshoujing Telescope (aka Large sky Area Multi-Object fiber Spectroscopic Telescope, or LAMOST), and the Einstein Probe or the enhanced X-ray Timing and Polarimetry Mission (eXTP).
The second half of the forum was dedicated to science discussions led by TMT’s International Science Development Teams (ISDTs) and organized over three parallel sessions on “Cosmology and Early Universe,” “Planetary Formation,” and “ Stars, Galaxies and Supermassive Black Holes.” The final plenary session allowed each breakout session to present the content of their discussion to all meeting participants, and highlight the operational and instrumental requirements needed for implementing these synergetic science programs.
An instrument workshop was held the day before the Forum to discuss science cases and instrument design High Resolution Optical Spectrograph (HROS), one of TMT’s first decade instruments. This workshop was aimed at facilitating the definition of HROS main science requirements and the building of its core science team. Participants were also updated on the design and capabilities of similar instruments planned for other ELT facilities: ELT’s High Resolution Spectrograph (HIRES) and GMT’s-Consortium Large Earth Finder (G-CLEF).
In addition, a meeting about TMT’s first-light instrument, Wide-Field Optical Spectrometer (WFOS), was held on November 5. This meeting provided an update on the instrument design development. Key members of the WFOS technical team, TMT Project Office staff and representatives from various Chinese institutes under the direct leadership of the Chinese Academy of Sciences including: XIOPM, SJTU, USTC, SIOM and NIAOT * were involved. The half-day workshop explored potential areas of collaboration for the instrument. We expect participation in WFOS from several of these institutes to ramp up over the coming months.
*XIOPM: Xi'an Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
SJTU: Shanghai Jiao Tong University
USTC: University of Science and Technology of China
SIOM: Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics
NIAOT: Nanjing Institute of Astronomical Optics & Technology
Apart from the Forum and instrumentation workshops, the TMT Science Advisory Committee (SAC) members also convened on November 7 to discuss TMT’s instrumentation roadmap for the first decade of operations.
The Forum organizers are grateful to the National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation for the support they provided through the collaborative Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed on June, 2019.
For more information about the Forum, click here: https://conference.ipac.caltech.edu/tmtsf2019