The search for Earth-like planets, the nature and distribution of dark matter, and the quest to image the first stars and galaxies are just some of the science challenges that will be addressed by the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).
In a new video produced by TMT and acclaimed animator Dana Berry, astronomers Richard Ellis, the Steele Professor of Astronomy at Caltech, and Andrea Ghez, professor of physics and astronomy at UCLA, explain how this next-generation observatory will push the boundaries of astronomy and allow us to study the Universe with unprecedented clarity and precision.
“It’s 400 years since the telescope first was invented, and it has been an astonishing story of scientific discovery, and the Thirty Meter Telescope will extend and continue that story in a dramatic way,” said Ellis in the new video.
When completed in 2018, the TMT will be the first of the next-generation of ground-based optical observatories. This revolutionary telescope will integrate the latest innovations in precision control, segmented mirror design, and adaptive optics to correct for the blurring effect of Earth's atmosphere. Building on the success of the twin Keck telescopes, the core technology of TMT will be a 30-meter segmented primary mirror. This will give TMT nine times the collecting area of today's largest optical telescopes and three times sharper images.
“Thirty meters is big enough that you can make the next leap in our understanding of the physical Universe, while not being so big as to be unbuildable,” said Ghez.
The new video can be viewed here.
The TMT project is an international partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy. The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) joined TMT as a Collaborating Institution in 2008. The National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Science joined TMT as an Observer in 2009.