The Thirty Meter Telescope is a telescope project that is being built at the TMT Observatory, which is situated at the top of Mauna Kea, on Big Island, Hawaii. There are already several telescopes at the top of Mauna Kea, which at 14,000 feet is often above the clouds, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with minimal light pollution.
The telescope will be of the Ritchey-Chretien type, which is a Cassegrain telescope that has a hyperbolic primary mirror and hyperbolic secondary mirror. This is the most common type of telescope used in professional astronomy. The TMT will also feature optical and infrared observing, "with wavelengths of interest ranging from 310 nanometers in the ultraviolet to 28 microns in the infrared. The telescope is comprised of a large number of different systems within the same facility, including mechanical assemblies, control systems and distribution systems. The actual summit enclosure is not considered to be part of the telescope (TMT, org, 2014).
The telescope is a joint venture between a number of different bodies, including the California Institute of Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Japan's National Institute of Natural Sciences and National Astronomical Observatory and the University of California, with contributions from Canada and India forthcoming (Beatty, 2014).
The telescope will be...
It will be operated by the Science Advisory Committee, whose members are made up of representatives of the different bodies contributing to the development of the project, including Canada and India, along with China. CalTech is lead in terms of operating the telescope. The head person in charge is the Project Scientist, who leads the TMT project team in translating the mandate of the telescope into a strategic plan for its operation.
The telescope is going to be, as the name suggests, thirty meters in diameter. The website describes it as "a wide-field, alt-az Ritchey-Chretien telescope with a 492 segment, 30 meter diameter primary mirror, a fully active secondary mirror and an articulated tertiary mirror" (TMT.org, 2014). The description continues: "The optical beam of this telescope will feed a constellation of adaptive optics (AO) systems and science instruments mounted on large Nasmyth platforms surrounding the telescope azimuth structure." (TMT.org, 2014).
The TMT will deliver "unprecedented light collection area," 10x one of the Keck telescopes (also on Mauna Kea) and a diffraction-limited spatial resolution that exceeds Keck. The TMT will have 144 times the collecting area…
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