The Canadian government has committed $243.5 million to fund an international project to build the world’s most powerful telescope.
The Canadian involvement in the Thirty Meter Telescope began with discussions at a CIFAR meeting in 2002, says Ray Carlberg, Fellow in Cosmology & Gravity and Canadian TMT in Canada. The discussion launched a collaboration between scientists in Canada and California that grew to include researchers in China, India and Japan.
“This project is a major victory for the Canadian astronomical community, and, naturally, the meeting of minds all began at a CIFAR meeting,” says Dick Bond, the Cosmology & Gravity program director.
The Thirty Meter Telescope, to be built in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, will be able to see almost to the edge of the observable universe. It will study stars, galaxies and other astronomical objects in search of answers to fundamental questions about the structure of the Universe, the formation of stars and galaxies and whether there is life on planets orbiting other stars.
Image above: An artist’s concept of the Thirty Meter Telescope. Image courtesy of TMT International Observatory