Week 4 I focused my research on new projects and advancements for ground based telescopes. Scientists have been making progress when it comes to the image quality of ground based telescopes. One of those upcoming projects is the Thirty Meter Telescope, it was originally planned to be released in 2022 at the Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii. The centerpiece of the telescope is to be a Ritchey-Chretien telescope with a 30-metre (98 ft) diameter primary mirror, given by the name. If the telescope were to work as planned it should be able to get an image quality almost ten times better than the Hubble Space telescope. Unfortunately we’ll have to wait a bit longer for the release of this telescope because there have been lots of protest against the production of this telescope because Mauna Kea is the most sacred mountain in Hawaiian culture. The Supreme Court of Hawaii invalidated the TMT’s building permits so the TMT company has begun to look for other places where they could launch this telescope.
There are two more major upcoming ground based telescopes, the Giant Magellan telescope and the European Extremely Large telescope. The Giant Magellan telescope will be constructed in the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. Commissioning of the telescope is scheduled to begin in 2022 and finish in 2025. The GMT has a unique design that’ll offer several advantages giving it a resolution power ten times greater than the Hubble Space telescope. How the GMT will work: Light from the edge of the universe will first reflect off of the seven primary mirrors, then reflect again off of the seven smaller secondary mirrors, and finally, down through the center primary mirror to the advanced CCD (charge coupled device) imaging cameras. There, the concentrated light will be measured to determine how far away objects are and what they are made of. The telescope will be located on one of the highest and driest locations on earth, Chile’s Atacama Desert, the GMT will have spectacular conditions for more than 300 nights a year. Las Campanas Peak (“Cerro Las Campanas”) has an altitude of over 2,550 meters or approximately 8,500 feet which is where the telescope will be located. The combination of seeing, number of clear nights, altitude, weather and vegetation make Las Campanas Peak an ideal location for the GMT, but the GMT is not the only telescope planned to be located in Chile.
The European Extremely Large telescope is now under construction in Chile. The Telescope will vastly advance astrophysical knowledge, allowing detailed studies of subjects including planets around other stars, the first objects in the Universe, super-massive black holes, and the nature and distribution of the dark matter and dark energy which dominate the Universe. The E-ELT will have an aperture diameter of 39.3 meters which is 9.3 meters bigger than the TMT, this will allow it to get images 15 times sharper than the Hubble space telescope. It is planned to see it’s first light in 2024.