Thursday, February 21, 2008

In the Shadow of a Giant

George Ellery Hale died 70 years ago today. From Ronald Florence's The Perfect Machine:
A few days prior to his death he felt well enough to be wheeled outside. He looked up at the sky and said, "It is a beautiful day. The sun is shining and they are working on Palomar."
While Hale missed seeing the completion of the mighty 200-inch telescope, his vision and determination made the telescope a reality. That's why it has carried his name since 1948.

Hale's shadow looms large even 70 years later. Modern-day astronomers are poised to begin a new project that would have made him proud, the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).

The TMT will have almost 36 times the light-gathering power of the Hale Telescope and will push astronomy into a new era of giant telescopes. Design work and site selection are still underway, but big things are coming. As Hale said:

Make no small plans. Dream no small dreams.

There's nothing small about the TMT. Stay tuned.

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