The Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) is one step closer to reality. After years of study, the site selection team has narrowed the search to just two possible sites to build what will be come the world's largest telescope. They are Cerro Armazones in Chile's Atacama Desert, and Mauna Kea on Hawai'i Island.
Each site offers the excellent conditions needed for an observatory of this magnitude. What's required? A high elevation; clear skies; stable, non-turbulent air; and a dry atmosphere.
From yesterday's press release:
"The TMT is currently in the final stages of an $80 million design phase. The plan is to initiate construction in 2010 with first light in early 2018. This project is a partnership between the University of California, California Institute of Technology, and ACURA, an organization of Canadian universities. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has provided $50 million for the design phase of the project and has pledged an additional $200 million for the construction of the telescope, and Caltech and the University of California each will seek to raise matching funds of $50 million to bring the construction total to $300 million."
Stay tuned as the best is yet to come.