hawaii sited as home to largest optical telescope TMT hawaii sited as home to largest optical telescope TMT
mar 19, 2014

hawaii sited as home to largest optical telescope TMT

largest optical telescope TMT measures 30 meters in diameter
image courtesy TMT observatory corporation




hawaii’s mauna kea volcano, on the archipelago’s big island, is sited as home for the ‘thirty meter telescope‘ (TMT). the large-scale project is lead by a team of engineers, scientists and project specialists in pasadena, california, who have been working together to develop the world’s most advanced and most powerful optical telescope. TMT serves as a tool for investigating a range of topics related to our solar system including: stereoscopic exploration of the dark ages;  large-scale structures in the young universe offering detailed spectroscopic analysis of galaxies and subgalactic fragments during the epoch of galaxy assembly; investigating the massive black holes throughout cosmic time; and looking at planet-formation processes and the characterization of extra-solar planets.


overview of the thirty meter telescope
video courtesy of the thirty meter telescope



the TMT is a wide-field, alt-az ritchey-chretien telescope with a 492 segment (composed of 492 aspheric, hexagonal-shaped, polished and coated mirror components mounted on passive / active segment support systems), a primary mirror with a diametric measurement of 30-meters, a fully active secondary and articulated tertiary reflectors. the structure’s wide aperture allows it to render a focus that is sharper than that of smaller telescopes accomplished through the diffraction of light. also collecting more luminance than smaller ones, images of fainter objects to appear more pronounced. in addition, TMT reaches a further range than previous designs by a factor of 10 to 100, depending on the observation.


world's largest telescope TMT designboom
profile of the TMT complex
image courtesy TMT observatory corporation



the framework of TMT will be comprised of an optical beam that will feed a constellation of adaptive optics (AO) systems and science instruments that are mounted onto nasmyth platforms – arranged around the telescope’s azimuth structure – that will be large enough to support at least eight different AP/instrument combinations (dependent on the exact volume and mass parameters), covering a generous spatial and spectral resolution. support facilities within the observatory design will house and maintain these technical systems. the implementation of the adaptive optics system permits a diffraction-limited performance, which, in theory, offers the best that the system’s optics can provide. in return this accommodates high-sensitivity spatial resolution that is 12 times sharper than what can be achieved by the hubble space telescope.


TMT largest optical telescope
artist concept illustration of the TMT observatory at its proposed mauna kea site in hawaii
image courtesy TMT observatory corporation



the TMT will be housed within a  60-meter diameter ‘calotte’ style dome, offering a full range of motion while providing maximum wind protection by virtue of the minimum opening size. 98 vent doors can be opened to provide natural ventilation. construction begins this year, with the TMT enclosure and structure set for completion in 2020


world's largest telescope TMT designboom
TMT at dusk
image courtesy TMT observatory corporation


world's largest telescope TMT designboom
artist’s illustration of the telescope showing the tertiary mirror in the center of the segmented primary mirror
image courtesy TMT observatory corporation


world's largest telescope TMT designboom
artit’s concept showing the segmented primary mirror, which has 492 hexagonal segments arranged into a f/1 hyperboloidal mirror
image courtesy TMT observatory corporation


world's largest telescope TMT designboom
the inner workings of the TMT
image courtesy TMT observatory corporation



fly-through of the TMT
video courtesy of the thirty meter telescope



world's largest telescope TMT designboom
diagram of the TMT observatory’s components
image courtesy TMT observatory corporation

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