Thirty Meter Telescope to move?

In July 2009, the governing board of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) chose Mauna Kea mountain on Hawaii as the site of the $1.4bn facility. In October 2014, however, at the telescope’s ground-breaking, native Hawaiians held a protest. They regard the Mauna Kea summit as sacred and they object to the number of telescopes there. (Mauna Kea is one of the best places in the world to put a telescope, which is why astronomers have put 13 telescopes there. The TMT would be the 14th, and by far the largest.)

The TMT board are now considering other possible locations for the telescope. Possible options include Chile and the Canary Islands. It will be interesting to see where on Earth this vast telescope will be built.


An artist’s impression of the TMT which, if it is built, would allow astronomers to peer back to the earliest stages of the universe. (Credit: TMT Observatory)