Thirty Meter Telescope Project: Indian Astronomers collaborated with Nobel Laureate

The Indian Astronomers have collaborated with 2020 Physics Nobel Laureate Prof Andrea Ghez on the “Thirty Meter Telescope Project”. The telescope is being installed at Hawaii and is to revolutionise the understanding of the universe.

Thirty Meter Telescope Project

It is an international partnership project between India, China, Japan, California and Canada.

About the Telescope

It is extremely large telescope. It is designed for Ultra Violet to mid infra red observations. It has 30 metres prime mirror diameter and is three times as wide as the largest existing visible light telescope in the world.
The three major instruments to be included in the telescope are Infrared Imaging Spectrometer, Wide Field Optical Spectrometer and Infrared Multi Object Spectrometer.

India’s Proposal to change location

The proposed site to construct the Thirty Meter Telescope was considered as sacred to the indigenous Hawaiians. Thus, it is being objected by the local communities in the region. Due to these obstructions, the project has not made any significant progress. Thus, India has suggested for change of location.

Mauna Kea

The proposed site was Mauna Kea. It is a dormant volcano in Hawaii. Mauna Kea is considered as sacred. The alternate to the location is Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos in Canary Islans, Spain. Mauna Kea was chosen as it offers best imaging possibilities and stable weather. Also, it has necessary infrastructure to manage telescopes as it already hosts several telescopes.

What is India’s role in Thirty Meter Telescope project?

India has committed to offer 200 milion USD. This is a tenth of the proposed cost. India is to contribute 83 of the 492 precisely polished mirror needed for the project. India, as of 2020, will receive 10% of available slots. The level of contribution determines amount of viewing time a member country gets.

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