- There have been protests in Hawaii over Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) – a proposed astronomical observatory with an extremely large telescope (ELT). It is proposed to be built on Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano and the highest point in Hawaii.
- The protests are taking place as Mauna Kea is considered to be a sacred ground by native Hawaiians. Spain’s Canary Islands is a backup site, if the TMT cannot be built on Mauna Kea.
- The Thirty Meter Telescope is called so because of its 30 m prime mirror diameter.
- The TMT is being designed and developed by the TMT International Observatory LLC (TIO) – a non-profit international partnership of institutions from the USA, Japan, China, India and Canada. India will contribute about 10% of the cost of building the telescope and observatory.
- The TMT will provide information about the nature of “first-light” objects and their effects on the universe’s evolution. It will also observe the formation and development of the large-scale structures by looking at faint distant galaxies and the intergalactic medium, providing information the nature of dark matter that are inaccessible using any other techniques.
- It will also help detect and investigate black holes that reside in the center of many distant galaxies, and study in detail the black hole in the center of Milky Way.
- TMT will also help in advancing knowledge of the physical processes that lead to star and planet formation.
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