International Space Agencies – Missions and Discoveries

Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Thirty Metre Telescope

Mains level : Not Much

With regime change in the US, hopes have been raised for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) in Hawaii. India is one of the partners in the ambitious next-generation observatory project along with the US, Canada, China and Japan.

Try this PYQ:

Q.“Event Horizon” is related to:

(a) Telescope

(b) Black hole

(c) Solar glares

(d) None of the above

Thirty Metre Telescope

  • The TMT is a proposed astronomical observatory with an extremely large telescope (ELT) that has become the source of controversy over its planned location on Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii.
  • It is being built by an international collaboration of government organisations and educational institutions, at a cost of $1.4 billion.
  • “Thirty Metre” refers to the 30-metre diameter of the mirror, with 492 segments of glass pieced together, which makes it three times as wide as the world’s largest existing visible-light telescope.
  • The larger the mirror, the more light a telescope can collect, which means, in turn, that it can “see” farther, fainter objects.
  • It would be more than 200 times more sensitive than current telescopes and would be able to resolve objects 12 times better than the Hubble Space Telescope.

Utility of the telescope

  • One of its key uses will be the study of exoplanets, many of which have been detected in the last few years, and whether their atmospheres contain water vapour or methane — the signatures of possible life.
  • For the first time in history, this telescope will be capable of detecting extraterrestrial life.
  • The study of black holes is another objective.
  • While these have been observed in detail within the Milky Way, the next galaxy is 100 times farther away; the Thirty Metre Telescope will help bring them closer.
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