The Giant Telescope Project

TMT - The Giant Telescope
TMT - The Giant Telescope

The Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) and other allied bodies which are a part of the worldwide 30-m telescope (TMT) are expecting a go-ahead for the project from the Government of India by 2013.  This project will take 8 more years to get operational, but by the end of next year, a technical demo will be ready which will be presented to the Department of Science and Technology. The project is being coordinated by Prof. Eswar Reddy.

The TMT is made up of 492 segments of 1.4 m each and India will be making 125 segments. All these segments will be integrated in a manner to act like a single monolithic 30-m  mirror. The total project cost will be $1.6 billion by 2020, when TMT will be operational. India will bear 10% of the project cost, and thus will have a right to 10% of the viewing time of the telescope, which is around 25 nights annually.

Currently, one of the largest telescopes in the world is the W.M.Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, which has 2 10-m telescopes, and the costs for a single night viewing is $1 lakh approximately. The TMT will also be placed on Mauna Kea, which is the highest point in the state of Hawaii. This is because Mauna Kea has 75% clear nights, which is around 273 clear nights annually.

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