About the Project:
Astronomers, like most scientists, have the
luxury of a profession which places an emphasis on our ability to allow
the universe to amaze us. Once these perplexing features are
identified, a lot of analysis and hard work goes into describing and
However, in order to successfully accomplish this we require telescopes; the
instruments used to identify the wonders of our universe. Having a larger telescope is equivalent to
looking at the world with our eyes wide open as opposed to partially
shut. This is the motivation for developing the Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT) which, once constructed, will be the largest telescope
ever built and is expected to be fully operational in 2018. It is being developed through a private-public
partnership, involving groups from both Canada and the United States of America, first formalized
in June 2003.
The TMT belongs to a class of telescopes called Extremely Large Telescopes (ELTs)
which are the next step up from the largest that exist today
at 8-10 m in diameter.
It will be made up of over 492 hexagonal mirror segments that span a 30 m diameter and will operate at both visible and infrared (IR) wavelengths employing cutting-edge adaptive optics technology.
A report to the Canadian Astronomical
Society released in 2000 identified the Very Large Optical Telescope (VLOT)
project in conjunction with the TMT as the ‘highest priority
project’. Such a telescope will be able to see farther
than ever before and will work well with upcoming space
missions such as JWST, Hubble’s successor, and the Terrestrial Planet
The TMT is designed so that its observations will help answer questions about
the formation of stars, planets and galaxies, about dark matter and dark energy and the frequency and types of
Planets that reside in solar systems other than our own.
They are difficult to detect and most that have been found seem to resemble Jupiter more so than Earth..
Although, as many of the greatest scientific discoveries in history were unintentional, we look forward
to finding a host of unanticipated wonders about the universe we live in.
As you navigate this site keep an eye out for terms in greenThese boxes give extra information
which are linked to a glossary for further explanation, or just pass the
cursor over them to open a text box of information. Be sure to return
frequently as this website will cover the progress of the TMT project and be