Thirty Meter Telescope

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. The Thirty Meter Telescope is called so because of its 30 m prime mirror diameter.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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. 
  7. TMT will also help in advancing knowledge of the physical processes that lead to star and planet formation.