Wednesday, 22 Jul, 2009 Science

Huge New-Gen Telescope to Be Constructed in Hawaii


A new-generation extremely large telescope will be built in Hawaii. The project is expected to be finished by 2018. The new telescope will feature one primary mirror measuring 30 meters in diameter and composed of 492 segments.

With such parameters, the telescope will have nine times the collecting area than any other telescope on the planet today, making the Thirty-Meter Telescope the largest in the world, even greater than the famous Hubble Space Telescope. It will provide scientists with a new view of some of the oldest galaxies in the universe, stars and planets that orbit them.

It is worth mentioning that five sites were selected in the race for building the telescope and Mauna Kea in Hawaii was one of them. To select the best site, scientists carried out a global satellite evaluation of atmosphere and climate variables, choosing Hawaii and Cerro Amazones in Chile the two most suitable sites. Finally the board decided that Mauna Kea is the winner. For more information on science and space please visit

"The atmospheric conditions, low average temperatures, and very low humidity will open an exciting new discovery space using adaptive optics and infrared observations," outlined Edward Stone, Caltech physicist and vice chairman of the TMT board.

At the moment the project is awaiting approval from the state. In addition, $100 million is required for the construction of the telescope. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation will provide an extra $300 million. TMT is the project that united the forces of Caltech, the University of California and ACURA, a group of Canadian Universities. More information is available here .

Other large telescopes that are to be constructed in the near future include the European Extremely Large Telescope with a diameter of 42 meters and Giant Magellan Telescope with a primary mirror measuring 24.5 meters across. Both telescopes are expected to be completed by 2018.

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