India joined Thirty Meter Telescope Project as a Full Member

Dec 5, 2014 16:25 IST

India on 2 December 2014 joined the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Project as a Full Member. With this, India joined the elite group of countries including USA, China, Japan and Canada to build the largest telescope in the world at Mauna Kea in Hawaii.
India became the full member of the project after K Vijay Raghavan, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology (DST) under the Union Ministry of Science and Technology, signed the documents to change India's formal relationship from Associate to Member of the TMT International Observatory (TIO). DST is the financial authority of India-TMT.
India-TMT will be a joint project of the DST and Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) that will be anchored in the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) and led by IIA; Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences, Nainital; and Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune.

India’s contribution to the Project

In September 2014, Union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave its approval for India’s participation in the TMT project at a total cost of 1299.8 crore rupees from 2014 to 2023.
India's contributions to the project will be in the areas of software systems, segment production and the production of the very high precision sensors and actuators that make the primary mirror possible.
India will deliver 100 smaller, hexagonal mirrors out of a total of 492 that is needed to build the 30m diameter primary mirror of the telescope. Japan, China and the US will supply the remainder whereas Canada will construct the dome.
India will also deliver 3444 edge sensors that will guide the actuators in aligning the segments.

About TMT Project

Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT) is being built at the height of 4050 meter on Mauna Kea Mountains in Hawaii. It is expected to be completed by 2020. It will enable astronomers to study objects in our own solar system and stars throughout our Milky Way and its neighboring galaxies, and forming galaxies at the very edge of the observable Universe, near the beginning of time.
The TMT project was born out of the merging of three earlier large-telescope projects:

• The California Extremely Large Telescope (CELT), which was a partnership between Caltech and University of California (UC)
• The Very Large Optical Telescope (VLOT) led by Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA)
• The Giant Segmented Mirror Telescope (GSMT), which was a partnership between the National Optical Astronomical Observatory (NOAO) and the Gemini Observatory.
As a result, the nonprofit TMT Observatory Corporation was founded in June 2003 by the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA), the University of California (UC), and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).
The TMT Master Agreement was signed by the Scientific Authorities of all partners on 24 July 2013. The partner signatories are:
• Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA)
• The California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
• The Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA)
• The National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC)
• The National Optical Astronomy Observatory of Japan (NAOJ)
• The University of California (UC)
On 6 May 2014, the TMT International Observatory LLC (TIO) was formed with founding Members:
• The California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
• The National Institutes of Natural Sciences (Japan)
• The National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Science (China)
• The Regents of the University of California (UC)
The goal of TIO is to design, develop, build and operate the Thirty Meter Telescope.
The design, development, and construction phases of TMT is funded by the support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

 

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