Thirty-meter Telescope (TMT) Project | UPSC

Thirty-meter Telescope (TMT) Project | UPSC


Thirty-meter Telescope (TMT) Project

      WHY IN NEWS:

Indian astronomers collaborated with Nobel laureate on Thirty Meter Telescope Project

MINISTRY? :-Ministry of Science & Technology
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Science and Technology


For PRELIMS this is an important project . Make a note of it . Objective , location and instruments of this telescope are very important . We have covered it in depth.

For MAINS compare the top three telescopes of this year . Let us dive in !


2020 Physics Nobel Laureate Prof. Andrea Ghez had worked closely with Indian astronomers on the design of back-end instruments.



  • A decade ago, international partners from around the world envisioned the largest telescope to be build – the Thirty Meter Telescope.  

The Thirty Meter Telescope will be the largest ground-based observatory in the world

  • It will provide new observational opportunities in essentially every field of astronomy and astrophysics. 

Thirty-meter Telescope (TMT) Project | UPSC



TMT’s collaborative model which has engaged the world’s talent and intellect, has revolutionized our understanding of our universe.

  • The model has been adopted as an inclusive and scientific approach to address some of the world’s most complex scientific and practical problems.


  • For tens of thousands of years humans have looked upward and tried to find meaning in what they see in the sky.
  • The next level of questions that arise require facilities with even greater capabilities to gather the observations needed to answer them.

No single university, no single country, not even a whole continent has the knowledge and technological resources to build these facilities. 

  • Each of the countries is an intellectual partner in the endeavor, as well as bringing technical expertise.
  • In some cases, partners have long experience in constructing telescopes and this effort will build on those past successes and lessons.


Astronomers will pursue further advancement of our understanding in several key science areas, including:

  • Spectroscopic exploration of the “dark ages” when the first sources of light and the first heavy elements in the universe formed.
  • Exploration of galaxies and large-scale structure in the young universe
  • Investigations of massive black holes throughout cosmic time

Exploration of planet-formation processes and the characterisation of extra-solar planets

  • Discovery observations that push into the terrestrial-planet regime


Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory (TIO) is located at Maunakea, in Hawaii.


The Thirty Meter Telescope is being designed and developed by the TMT International Observatory LLC (TIO).

The TIO is a non-profit international partnership between the :

  • California Institute of Technology
  • The University of California
  • The National Institutes of Natural Sciences of Japan
  • The National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • The Department of Science and Technology of India
  • The National Research Council (Canada).


  • TMT will be a unique tool for probing many outstanding open questions in astronomy.
  • Its adaptive optics and spectroscopic capabilities will allow astronomers to explore the mysterious period in the life of the universe.
  • TMT will explore first stars and galaxies were formed, providing information about the nature of “first-light” objects.
  • TMT will also observe the formation of the large-scale structures by looking at faint distant galaxies .

TMT’s high resolution will extend scientists’  capability to detect and investigate black holes and distant galaxies

  • TMT will also play a very important role in advancing our knowledge of  the physical processes that lead to star and planet formation.
  • TMT will be able to characterize and study  the properties of exoplanets leading us closer to finding out if life exists beyond the Earth.
  • Finally, the advanced capabilities of the TMT will very likely lead to discoveries that we cannot anticipate what we envision today.

Thirty-meter Telescope (TMT) Project Observatory



  • The Thirty Meter Telescope is a new class of extremely large telescopes .
  • It will allow us to see deeper into space and observe cosmic objects with unprecedented sensitivity.

With its 30 m prime mirror diameter, TMT will be three times as wide, with nine times more area, than the largest currently existing visible-light telescope in the world.

  • This will provide unparalleled resolution with TMT images more than 12 times sharper than those from the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • When operational, TMT will provide new observational opportunities in essentially every field of astronomy and astrophysics.  
  • The instrument allows observing in wavelengths ranging from the ultraviolet to the mid-infrared.
  • This unique instrument will allow astronomers to address fundamental questions in astronomy .
  • It will also allow understanding star and planet formation to unraveling the history of galaxies and the development of large-scale structure in the universe.


  • The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a TIO Associate.
  • Major funding for TMT has been provided by the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation.
  • The TIO will also run the TMT operations once the telescope is completed.


  • InfraRed Imager and Spectrometer (IRIS)
  • Wide Field Optical Spectrometer

Multi-Object Diffraction-limited High-Resolution Infrared Spectrograph (MODHIS) 

  • Integral field, multi-object units
  • Calibration


Thirty-meter Telescope (TMT) Project | UPSC


      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Telescopes are built and funded by universities, governments and foundations.
  • TMT will be funded this same way, with universities and those within the science community making an investment in operations in exchange for time on the telescope.
  • Operations are estimated at $27 million per year in basic operating expenses and $12 million per year in instrument development in FY2010 economics.

The Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory (TIO) seeks to advance scientific knowledge while fostering connection among the partner countries.

  • The countries and their citizens, who represent over half the world’s population.
     SOURCES:  PIB | Thirty-meter Telescope (TMT) Project | UPSC



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