UC system helping to build massive telescope in Hawaii

Mar 25, 2014

Artist rendering of the TMT on top of Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano.
Credit © 2010 Thirty Meter Telescope

A massive $1.4 billion telescope being built on top of Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano now has the support of the University of California system. Regents voted last week to assist with financing the project.

It's called the Thirty Meter Telescope, or TMT.

"With the TMT, we will have the ability to measure the physical properties of the first stars and galaxies to form after the Big Bang, to map the evolution of the Universe from some 13 billion years ago up to the present time," said University of California Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry Yang, chairman of the TMT Board. "The Thirty Meter Telescope, when built, will be one of the premier scientific facilities of this century."

Chacellor Yang says the University of California and Caltech started to plan for this ground-based astronomy facility back in 2000. He has served as chairman of the TMT board since 2007.

"Our remarkable progress in understanding the contents, origin and evolution of the Universe, since Galileo used the first telescope four hundred years ago to study the heavens, is driven by ever more powerful telescopes, instruments and detectors," Yang said.