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China And India To Help Build Thirty Meter Telescope In Hawaii

January 13, 2012

China and India are moving forward to join as partners to help build the world’s largest telescope in Hawaii.

The two countries plan to share the cost of the construction for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) at the summit of Mauna Kea volcano.

“This will represent a quantum leap for the Chinese community,” Shude Mao, professor of astrophysics at National Astronomical Observatories of China, told The Associated Press (AP).

The telescope’s mirror will be nearly 100 feet long, giving astronomers nine times the light-collecting area of the largest optical telescope used today.

TMT will be able to observe planets that orbit stars other than the sun and enable astronomers to watch new planets and stars being formed.

China joined the University of California system, the California Institute of Technology and the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy in 2009.  India joined the following year.

The telescope may only hold the record as the largest for a short period of time.  A partnership of European countries plan to build the European Extremely Large Telescope, which will include a 138-foot mirror.

A TMT meeting was held this week, which allowed the astronomers and scientists that are part of the project to see the telescope’s proposed home.

The $1.3 billion project is slated to be completed sometime in 2018.

Image Caption:  An artist’s interpretation of the TMT dome. Credit: TMT Project

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Source: RedOrbit Staff & Wire Reports



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