TMT in China: Scientific and Technological Frontiers

With the construction to start imminently in October 2014, the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) is no longer a distant future. TMT will be one of the most powerful telescopes in the history of astronomy, and it will be one of the greatest astronomical facilities China will possess in the beginning of the 21st century. It will bring unprecedented opportunity to Chinese astronomy. How to achieve scientific and technical readiness for TMT to maximize its impact is a great challenge that the Chinese astronomy community is facing.

We set the theme for this year's KIAA-PKU Astrophysics Forum to discuss the scientific and technological frontiers of the TMT. On the one hand, the conference plans to offer prospects on how Chinese astronomers can make potential breakthroughs in astrophysics frontiers.  Participants will discuss how to organically relate their short-term research with the long-term goals relevant to TMT The conference will cover diverse fields, including cosmology, galaxy formation and evolution, active galactic nuclei and black hole physics, stars and stellar systems, and extrasolar planets.  We will also discuss the coordination between TMT and other large astronomical projects in China, in order to maximize their scientific impact and enhance China's capacity in astronomy across the full spectrum. On the other hand, the conference will discuss China's technological involvement in the TMT. Scientists and engineers will meet under the same roof to discuss how to finalize the TMT instrument specifications in order to optimize for the science objectives as well as reach deeper a understanding of the instruments to plan and design better science projects.

We invite broad participation from the entire astronomical community in China.






First grading on the TMT site September 17, 2014

First grading on the TMT site September 17, 2014

TMT passed another significant milestone yesterday. We carried out the first earth work on the TMT site under the Conservation District Use Permit and the sublease. This was the grading for the groundbreaking. It began at 6:30 am with a safety meeting at Hale Pohaku and mobilization of the workforce at the site by 8:00 am. The excavator, dozer, loader, crusher, roller and water trucks were prepositioned last week. 

The attached picture was taken at 4:45 pm yesterday by Paul Gillett. The site began in much of the shape of the surrounding large rocky ridges. By the time this photo was taken, the area of the groundbreaking ceremony was ripped, piled into boulder piles, hammered and then the rocks began to run through the crusher. You can see the excavator in orange which performed the ripping and shoveling and hammering with different tools attached. It is shoveling in the photo. More important, to its left is the crusher spewing small size material on the now leveled site. The watering truck, for dust control, is to the left. The roller smoothed the road and the segment near the watering truck is the kind of surface that we are working towards. Behind the orange excavator is a clearing and turnaround for the groundbreaking bus and vehicle parking.

This was a legal milestone in that it was construction activity with full authority and approval. And it is a major step towards preparing for the October 7 ceremony. With continued good conditions this work may finish next week.

Everyone is to be congratulated for the years of hard work to get to this big legal and small physical milestone.








Subscribe to Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory RSS