India is part of World’s largest optical telescope project

Indian scientists will render significant contribution in developing key components of the world’s largest optical telescope to be set up by a 5-nation consortium including India.

The Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT), also known as the world’s most advanced ground-based observatory, will be built at the summit of Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii at a cost of $1.2 billion.

Who are the partner countries?

There are five nations collaborating in the project:

  1. India
  2. China
  3. Japan
  4. Canada
  5. United States

What is so special about TMT?

  • 81 times more sensitive than the current telescopes of its kind and resolve objects by a factor of 3 times better than the largest ground-based telescopes that are available at present across the world.
  • Will be the world’s most advanced ground-based observatory that will be operating in optical and mid-infrared wavelengths.

What will be the contribution of India?

In this project 15% of the 492 mirror segments, each 1.44 m in size, will be fabricated in India. The Indian companies will be supplying high-end components such as edge sensors, actuators, segment support assemblies and provide services such as polishing of the mirror segments, and software to control the operations of the telescope, the mirror, and telescope dome. India is making a contribution of 10% – 70 % of it in kind and 30% in cash. Currently, India has a status of an observer and it is in the process of becoming a permanent member.

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