TMT

Good news for the TMT! On April 6, 2015 Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Industry Minister James Moore announced funding for Canada’s participation in the Thirty Meter Telescope. This ends many years of searching for funds for this project here in Canada, and heralds a new era for Canadian astronomy. The details are outlined in the Coalition press release shown here in English and here in the French translation. For more detail on the Thirty Meter Telescope, see http://www.astro.utoronto.ca/~acura/en/vlot.html.

The Long Range Plan (LRP) prepared in 2000 for the Canadian Astronomical Society identified the Very Large Optical Telescope (VLOT) project as a 'highest priority project'. A decade later, LRP 2010 confirmed this priority, and the Canadian astronomy community is thus still on track to realizing this goal, with the Thirty Meter telescope (TMT) as the favoured project. Such a telescope will be able to see farther and better than ever before and as a result work well with the upcoming ground and space based missions such as the Square Kilometre Array or SKA (www.skatelescope.ca) and the James Webb Space telescope (JWST, Hubble's successor.

The TMT, now in its construction phase, is designed so that its observations will help to answer questions about how stars, planets and galaxies form, about dark matter and energy and the frequency and types of extrasolar planets. In addition to this we look forward to a host of new wonderful and unanticipated discoveries about the universe we live in. If operating today, the Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT) would be the largest telescope ever built. It is being made possible through a private-public partnership between Canada and the United States of America, and with the recent additions of China, Japan and India. The project was initialized in June 2003 by the U.S. and Canada. First light is expected to be in 2024.

The TMT is an Extremely Large Telescope, or ELT. ELTs are the next step up from the large telescopes of today which are 8-10 m in diameter. The primary mirror will be made up of over 492 hexagonal segments that span a 30 m diameter. The TMT will operate at both visible and infrared (IR) wavelengths with the use of cutting edge adaptive optics technology, developed at the National Research Council. The enclosure will be built by Canadian industry.

For more information on the International TMT, see http://www.tmt.org

For more information on Canadian involvement in the TMT, see http://lot.astro.utoronto.ca

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