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
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.