Tag Archives: TMT

Hawaii Supreme Court rules in favor of TMT

Hawaii’s Supreme Court today upheld by a 4-1 vote the construction permits of the consortium building the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea.

In its own press release, the TMT consortium said that it “will move forward with fulfilling the numerous conditions and requirements of [the state’s permit] prior to the start of any construction.”

The comments by one of the the telescope’s opponents at the first link are revealing.

Kealoha Pisciotta, one of the main leaders against the telescope, said she’s doesn’t know what their next steps will be, but she’s not hopeful that more legal wrangling will help. “The court is the last bastion in democracy,” she said. “The only other option is to take to the streets. If we lose the integrity of the court, then you’re losing normal law and order, and the only other option is people have to rise up.” [emphasis mine]

Let me translate: We didn’t get our way, so we’re now going to throw another tantrum! Expect more protests and attempts to block construction. Expect the Hawaiian government, dominated almost entirely by Democrats, to fold to those protests. Expect more delays. For example, do you really think the permit process was really done?

State Department of Land and Natural Resources Chairwoman Suzanne Case said the next steps involve telescope builders submitting construction plans. The department will review the plans before issuing permission to proceed.

This was all done almost a decade earlier, and was exactly what the Supreme Court ruled on. To bring it up now suggests the state government is still quietly looking for loopholes to stop the construction, even though the public supports construction and the protesters are a decided minority.

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Hawaii’s Supreme Court to review TMT’s permit, again

Hawaii’s Supreme Court is set to review, for the second time, the construction permit for the Thirty Meter Telescope.

Much of the arguments centered around whether it was a conflict of interest for a hearings officer who made a key recommendation in favor of the project to be a member of a Hawaii astronomy center. The state allowed retired judge Riki May Amano to preside over contested-case hearings for the contentious project despite complaints from telescope opponents who decried her paid membership to the Imiloa Astronomy Center.

The Big Island center is connected to the University of Hawaii, which is the permit applicant.

Opponents appealed to the Supreme Court after Amano recommended granting the permit and the state land board approved it. “She should have never presided over the case,” Richard Wurdeman, an attorney representing telescope opponents, told the justices. He noted the center included exhibits about the project planned for the Big Island’s Mauna Kea, Hawaii’s tallest mountain.

The details don’t really matter. Nor will the decision. The protesters will simply find another petty issue if they lose, and will appeal again. Their goal, apparently supported covertly by Hawaii’s Democratic government, is to delay, delay, and delay, until the consortium building TMT is forced to abandon Hawaii.

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Two giant U.S. telescope projects team up

The two consortiums building the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) and the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) have teamed up in order to coordinate their research as well as encourage increased government funding for both.

The partnership, approved by the GMT board this month and by the TMT board last month, commits the two projects to developing a joint plan that would allow astronomers from any institution to use the telescopes; under previous plans observing time was available only to researchers from nations or institutions that had provided funding. The projects are discussing awarding at least 25% of each telescope’s time to nonpartners through a competitive process to be administered by the National Center for Optical-Infrared Astronomy—an umbrella organization that will replace the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), based in Tucson, Arizona, sometime in fiscal year 2019. Telescope backers hope the public access plan will help persuade the federal government to pay for at least 25% of the total cost of the two facilities, which could total $1 billion. (Cost estimates for the GMT and the TMT are $1 billion and $1.4 billion, respectively, but astronomers expect both numbers to grow.) “There are many science projects that are $1 billion class projects,” says David Silva, NOAO’s director. “The investment that we would want is of a similar size.”

…In making their case, the teams will argue the benefits of having telescopes in both the northern and southern hemispheres. “When you are covering the whole sky, you have greater scientific reach,” says Wendy Freedman, an astronomer at The University of Chicago in Illinois who was the founding leader of the GMT. The teams will also argue that the telescopes have complementary strengths. The design of the GMT, for instance, makes it ideal for a high-resolution spectrograph designed to probe the atmospheres of exoplanets. The TMT, which has more light-gathering power, could host a multiobject spectrograph to quickly gather demographic statistics on the universe’s first galaxies. [emphasis mine]

The highlighted sentences explain everything. First, government funding for both projects has been weak, partly because the National Science Foundation (the funding agency) has not been able to make up it mind which of these two U.S. projects to back. By teaming up as one project building two telescopes, the builders hope they will grease the wheels of the federal funding machine.

Second, by selling these two telescopes as covering both the north and south hemispheres, they indicate that the TMT is now almost certainly going to abandon its Hawaii location and move to the Canary Islands. GMT will be built at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, located at 29 degrees south latitude. By placing TMT in the northern hemisphere at 29 degrees north latitude in the Canary Islands, rather than Mauna Kea’s 19 degrees north latitude, they better compliment GMT in the southern hemisphere.

In other words, this partnership strengthens the case for TMT to abandon Hawaii. Not only will construction begin sooner (as the Hawaiian government has shown no interest in approving the project), the higher latitude as part of this partnership better justifies funding.

And the odds of getting that funding have apparently increased, as the chair of the House appropriations panel that funds the National Science Foundation has just shown himself to be very willing to give telescope projects a lot of money, more in fact than they even request.

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More delays threaten the Thirty Meter Telescope in Hawaii

The coming dark age: The delaying tactics of the opponents to building the Thirty Meter Telescope in Hawaii has caused the consortium to announce that it now seriously considering moving the telescope to Spain’s Canary Islands.

These have been the most recent delaying tactics:

On Thursday, the Hawaii Senate approved a bill to ban new construction atop Mauna Kea, and included a series of audits and other requirements before the ban could be lifted. But House leaders said they don’t have plans to advance the bill. Democratic House Speaker Scott Saiki told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that the “bill is dead on arrival in the House.”

There are also two appeals before the Hawaii Supreme Court. One challenges the sublease and land use permit issued by the Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources. The other has been brought by a Native Hawaiian man who says use of the land interferes with his right to exercise cultural practices and is thus entitled to a case hearing.

When the telescope gets moved, expect these barbarians in Hawaii to celebrate loudly, claiming their victory as a victory for “native rights.” What they will really be telling us is two things. First, they are against gaining new knowledge and new technology in a manner that does no one any harm. And two, they put racial rights above all, making them the worst sort of bigots.

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Canada’s Supreme Court rules against tribe in development dispute

In a case that appears similar to the dispute in Hawaii over the building of the Thirty Meter Telescope, Canada’s Supreme Court this week ruled against a local tribe in its more than quarter century battle to block the construction of a nearby ski resort.

The Ktunaxa Nation had opposed a resort on Crown land near their community in southeastern British Columbia, arguing that it would affect a grizzly-bear habitat and drive away the Grizzly Bear Spirit essential to their faith.

But, in a line that stunned some academic observers, seven judges of nine said that they looked on the religious-freedom claim under Section 2(a) of the Charter of Rights no differently than if it were made by non-Indigenous. They said the Ktunaxa claim fell entirely outside of the Canadian notion of freedom of religion, as established in previous Charter cases, which protects only the right to hold and manifest beliefs.

“In short, the Charter protects the freedom to worship, but does not protect the spiritual focal point of worship,” Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and Justice Malcolm Rowe wrote for the seven judges. The court also affirmed that, while developers and government need to consult with Indigenous peoples and accommodate their concerns, the First Nations possess no veto power over development.

What I find interesting about this story is that the developer first proposed this ski resort in 1991, and has spent 26 years consulting and then fighting with the local tribes. Talk about stick-to-it-ness! Moreover, the insincerity and delaying tactics of one tribe are revealed by this quote:

It was only in 2009, the Supreme Court said, as the proposal appeared on the verge of approval, that the Ktunaxa first mentioned the Grizzly Bear Spirit and said that no accommodation was possible.

It is important to note that the land in question is privately owned by the resort, and that the tribe essentially wanted a full veto over the rights of that private owner to use their land as they wished. The Supreme Court ruled that the tribe does not have that right. Had it agreed to this demand, the court would have essentially given the tribe the power to rule over everyone else in Canada, on almost any issue the tribe wished. All they would have had to do is to come up with some religious excuse (as it appears they did here).

Hat tip Peter Arzenshek.

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TMT opponents file appeal to Hawaiian supreme court

The opponents of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) have filed an appeal to the Hawaiian supreme court of the telescope’s permit approval.

The strategy is delay, delay, delay, so that the consortium building TMT will be forced to abandon Hawaii. And with the help of the Hawaiian government, run by Democrats, it appears this strategy will work.

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Hawaii’s land board votes 5-2 in favor of TMT

After lengthy hearings, Hawaii’s land board has voted 5 to 2 to approve the construction permit for building the Thirty Meter Telescope on top of Mauna Kea.

The board placed 43 conditions on the permit, including a previously negotiated plan requiring the University of Hawaii to decommission three existing telescopes atop Mauna Kea, where the TMT is to be built, and barring any future telescopes on the mountain. In a statement, Suzanne Case, chair of the board, said: “This was one of the most difficult decisions this Board has ever made. The members greatly respected and considered the concerns raised by those opposed to the construction of the Thirty-Meter Telescope at the Mauna Kea Science Reserve.”

TMT opponents tell ScienceInsider that they will appeal the decision. Kealoha Pisciotta, a Hawaiian cultural practitioner and a plaintiff in the case against the TMT permit, said she believed the board had rubber-stamped the permit, and the decision seemed like a foregone conclusion. “They did not deliberate. They did not properly consider or take into account the evidence,” she said. [emphasis mine]

They did not deliberate? The decision was announced with a 345 page document [pdf] outlining the long history of this permit process, including a detailed description of the previous process that had given its approval before protests required a second hearing followed by the numerous and endless testimony since.

This “Hawaiian cultural practitioner” (or what I call a typical race hustler) is either lying or willfully ignorant, and actually could be a poster-boy for modern intellectualism, which always puts race and ethnicity above facts and reasoned debate. And if you don’t believe me, read the pdf at the link above. Search for Pisciotta’s name and read her testimony. It reeks of ignorance and dishonesty, all colored by a racist love of her native race and a hatred of all others.

I still do not expect TMT to be built in Hawaii. The race hustlers rule the Democratic Party, and the Democratic Party rules Hawaii. They will allow the stalling to continue until the consortium building TMT will be forced to go elsewhere.

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More hearings stalling TMT

Stall, stall: After spending 44 days of hearings before a retired judge, Hawaii is now forcing the consortium that wants to build the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea to undergo further hearings before the local land board.

Wednesday’s hearing in a Hilo hotel comes after the retired judge overseeing contested-case hearings for the Thirty Meter Telescope recommended granting the project a construction permit. Riki May Amano issued her recommendation in July after hearing testimony that spanned 44 days. Opponents and supporters are echoing much of the arguments made during those oftentimes emotional days of testimony.

This short article, which really says little, ends by noting that “it’s not clear when the board will make a decision.”

Well, it is clear to me that the authorities in Hawaii, run exclusively by today’s racially-focused Democratic Party, is stalling as much as they can in order to force TMT to go elsewhere. They know it will not be a popular decision to block the telescope, but they also don’t want it because the hustlers of race on the island are against it. And to the Democratic Party today, the only thing that matters is to appease these race hustlers. So, they stall, figuring they can get rid of the telescope that way without ever having to block it outright.

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Judge okays TMT permit

In a 305-page decision, an Hawaiian judge has approved a new construction permit for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea.

This does not mean that the project now proceeds.

This isn’t the final say on whether the embattled project will proceed.

Now that Amano has issued her 305-page proposed decision and order, the state land board will set a deadline for telescope opponents and permit applicants to file arguments against her recommendations. The board will later hold a hearing and then make the final decision on the project’s conservation district use permit.

Not surprisingly, the Democratic governor of Hawaii issued a short, non-committal statement, stating that he supports “the co-existence of astronomy and culture on Mauna Kea,” whatever that means.

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If TMT moves from Hawaii Canada might exit partnership

The possibility that the Thirty Meter Telescope might be forced to move from Hawaii to the Canary Islands because of political opposition in Hawaii has Canadian scientists considering leaving the partnership.

The mega-telescope is “a critical component of the Canadian astronomical landscape,” says Michael Balogh, an astronomer at the University of Waterloo in Ontario. The country — one of six major international partners — has committed CAN$243 million (US$180 million) to the project. “If we have to move, it’s effectively a de-scope in the project,” says Balogh.

The back-up site, Roque de los Muchachos in La Palma, the Canary Islands, is lower in elevation than Mauna Kea, and its skies are more turbulent than those above the Hawaii mountain. That means that observing conditions are not quite as good; in particular, the extra atmosphere above La Palma interferes with much of the observing in mid-infrared wavelengths of light, the sweet spot for looking at exoplanet atmospheres.

If Canada leaves, there is a chance that the entire TMT partnership might fall apart.

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Construction begins on the European Extremely Large Telescope

On Friday the European Southern Observatory broke ground in Chile on the construction of the European Extemely Large Telescope (E-ELT), which when finished in 2024 will be the largest ground-based telescope in the world.

The mirror will be 39 meters across.

Meanwhile, construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope remains stalled. It was originally supposed to be operating before E-ELT, but that is becoming increasingly doubtful. Its builders can’t get Hawaii to approve a building permit, and they haven’t yet been willing to admit that they will never get permission to build there.

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New poll says most Hawaiians favor TMT

It won’t matter: A new poll suggests that a large majority of Hawaiians strongly favor the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea on Hawaii’s Big Island.

When it comes to the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea, 72 percent of likely voters said they supported it. On the Big Island, 68 percent of residents said they favored it, 15 percent more than two years ago.

“Even on Hawaii Island, support is over 2-to-1 that this is a project that they don’t want to see an opportunity lost for local kids there,” said Kyle Chock, interim executive director of Pacific Resource Partnership, which conducted the poll.

I am not surprised by this poll. Nor do I think it makes a bit of difference. I right now do not believe TMT will be built on Hawaii. The state government, controlled by the Democratic Party, is entirely sympathetic to the position of the small minority that is hostile to this project. This minority is opposed mostly because of a bigoted dislike of non-natives and a close-minded ignorance of modern technology. And because today’s Democratic Party cares only for racial and ethnic minorites, it supports them entirely. That government has been slow-walking the permitting process so much that it will decades to get through it.

Posted about 36,000 feet in the air over Hungary, returning from my week-long visit to Israel.

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44 days for first round of hearings on TMT

Stonewalling: Hawaiian officials have just completed the first round of hearings for deciding whether to issue a new construction permit for building the Thirty Meter Telescope, and those hearings stretched out for 44 days and cost nearly $225K.

Will that allow for a new permit? Don’t bet on it.

The hearings officer will recommend whether the state land board should grant a construction permit for the Thirty Meter Telescope. If there are exceptions filed to the hearings officer’s recommendations, the land board will hear arguments before issuing a written decision.

In other words, the state will allow the telescope’s opponents to force another set of hearings that could likely last as long.

As I’ve said before, it is time to tell Hawaii to go to hell. The state, run by Democrats, is obviously taking sides in opposition to the telescope, though they are trying to hide that fact. If the consortium wants to build this telescope on time, they need to find a place interested in having them. Let Hawaii keep its barren and empty mountain, even if it means the state will be poorer and less connected with the cutting edge of science.

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ELT construction moves forward

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) today signed contracts for the construction of the mirrors and sensor for its Extremely Large Telescope (ELT).

At a ceremony today at ESO’s Headquarters four contracts were signed for major components of the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) that ESO is building. These were for: the casting of the telescope’s giant secondary and tertiary mirrors, awarded to SCHOTT; the supply of mirror cells to support these two mirrors, awarded to the SENER Group; and the supply of the edge sensors that form a vital part of the ELT’s huge segmented primary mirror control system, awarded to the FAMES consortium. The secondary mirror will be largest ever employed on a telescope and the largest convex mirror ever produced.

The construction of the 39-metre ELT, the largest optical/near-infrared telescope in the world, is moving forward. The giant telescope employs a complex five-mirror optical system that has never been used before and requires optical and mechanical elements that stretch modern technology to its limits.

Meanwhile it remains unclear when and where the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) will be built.

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TMT legal case in Hawaii gets messier

The permit process in Hawaii for the Thirty Meter Telescope has gotten far messier, with the telescope’s opponents appealing to the state’s Supreme Court, complaining about witness procedures and the lawyers who are working for the state, while the land board running the procedures has asked the court to dismiss this appeal.

Essentially, the opponents are using every trick in the book to delay the permit process, and it appears that the law in Hawaii, including one just passed in August, is designed to aid them in this tactic.

TMT will not be built in Hawaii.The consortium that is building it needs a decision by early next year at the latest. They ain’t gonna get it. The luddites going to win, and Hawaii will be far poorer because of it.

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TMT consortium picks Canary Islands as alternative site to Hawaii

Faced with delays from protesters and an Hawaiian government slow-walking its permit process, the consortium building the Thirty Meter Telescope has announced that it will build the telescope on the Canary Islands if it continues to be blocked in Hawaii.

The article does not say when they will make this decision, but based on previous reports, they have to make their decision soon in order to begin construction no later than April 2018.

I fully expect them to abandon Hawaii, since I see no desire by the Hawaiian government to play fair during the new permit hearings. Instead, it seems to me that they are rigging this process so that it will never end.

Posted from the south rim of the Grand Canyon, where Diane and I plan a nice day hike tomorrow down the Hermit Trail.

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TMT hearing a fiasco

The initial hearing in Hawaii for the second permit application of the Thirty Meter Telescope today appears to have been a complete fiasco, designed to extend the proceedings as long as possible, ad infinitum.

Confusion reigned as Thursday’s hearing got underway in a Hilo hotel banquet room. Various telescope opponents complained about the scheduling and location of the hearing. One lawyer wanted to know the process for making objections. More than an hour went by before the first witness, environmental planner Perry White, was called to testify.

All witnesses will be allowed to provide a 10-minute summary of written testimony already submitted. But before White could provide his summary, there were various objections about qualifying him as an expert. Nearly two dozen people— many who are individual telescope opponents who don’t have lawyers representing them — will have a chance to cross-examine each witness.

Cross-examination of White will resume Monday.

It is very clear to me that Hawaii is stalling, designing the hearings so that they will last forever. TMT will never get built in Hawaii. It is time to say bye-bye and go somewhere where knowledge and technology is treasured.

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TMT considers alternative sites to Hawaii

Faced with a continuing legal battle to build the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), the consortium running is now seriously considering alternative sites.

Potential Northern Hemisphere sites include San Pedro Mártir in Baja California in Mexico and Roque de los Muchachos on La Palma, a Spanish island off the Atlantic coast of Morocco. “Our friends in La Palma are pushing hard” to get the TMT, says Matt Mountain, president of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy in Washington, D.C. But neither alternative matches the seeing conditions on Mauna Kea, and they would bring extra cost and complication. The project has already ruled out sites in the Himalayas, put forward by India and China—both TMT partners along with the United States, Japan, and Canada—because they are too far from ports and have short construction seasons.

The TMT governors are expected to choose their top alternative site later this month. Regardless of what happens in Hawaii, the governors have vowed to start construction—on Mauna Kea or elsewhere—no later than April 2018.

It is clear that Mauna Kea in Hawaii is the best location. Unfortunately, they are faced with the reality that there might be years of delays before they ever get permission to build, if they get permission at all.

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Hawaii Supreme Court approves solar telescope construction

Even as the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea remains in legal limbo, the Hawaii Supreme Court today ruled that the permits for the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope on Haleakala were correct and that construction can go forward.

Not surprisingly, the protesters who have lost this case immediately indicated that they will fight it with continued protests, not unlike a 3-year-old who doesn’t get his way and starts to scream and yell and pound the floor.

Meanwhile, the TMT court case is supposed to resume later this month.

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TMT will probably not go to India

An Indian astronomer, in testimony to India’s parliament, has explained that for engineering and technical reasons India will likely not be the new location of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).

Essentially, the skies are clearer in the Canary Islands and in Chile.

This story is important in that it confirms that the consortium building TMT is now very seriously considering abandoning Hawaii, and might already have decided to do so. It also suggests that the Canary Islands is in the lead as the new location, since they want a site that can see the skies of the northern hemisphere, something that won’t be possible in Chile.

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Poll shows Hawaiians strongly favor TMT

A new poll shows that by a 2 to 1 margin Hawaiians are in favor of building the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).

  • 89 percent of Hawaii Island residents agree there should be a way for science and Hawaiian culture to co-exist on Maunakea
  • 76 percent of Hawaii Island residents agree that TMT will help create good paying jobs and economic and educational benefits for those living on Hawaii Island
  • 70 percent of Hawaii Island residents agree that failure to move forward with TMT will hurt educational opportunities for Hawaii Island children with the termination of TMT’s annual $1 million contribution to the THINK Fund and workforce pipeline program
  • 69 percent of Hawaii Island residents agree that TMT has followed a lengthy approval process, so work should proceed

Based on what I’ve seen for the past forty years, this poll will mean nothing. The poll also found that the native Hawaiian population was much less supportive, with only 46 percent in support of the project and 45 percent opposed. And since the Democratic Party that runs Hawaii is a party that cares almost exclusively for the concerns of oppressed minorities over that of the non-native majority, you can bet they will do what the native population wants. The telescope will never get built in Hawaii, and the consortium building TMT had better face this reality and find another location.

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TMT likely to abandon Hawaii

Officials from the consortium that is building the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) have revealed that they are looking very seriously at alternative locations.

Officials behind the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) are considering new locations for the $1.4bn facility, and expect to decide whether to opt for a new site early next year. The TMT is due to be built on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea mountain but, following protests from local residents, its building permit was revoked last December by the state’s Supreme Court. New locations that are being considered include Baja California in Mexico, the Canary Islands and Chile, as well as locations in India and China.

They claim that Hawaii is still their first choice, but if they don’t see any progress by summer in the permitting process, I expect them to tell Hawaii to go to hell (though not in those words) and pick somewhere else.

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Hawaii turns down requests to remove TMT hearings officer

The state of Hawaii has decided to not replace the hearings officer in charge of the new permitting process for the Thirty Meter Telescope, despite a request by TMT to remove her.

There are different reasons for wanting to replace her. Telescope opponents raise conflict-of-interest concerns over her paid family membership to the Imiloa Astronomy Center. The university takes issue with her mediating another matter involving the Manoa campus. The nonprofit telescope company says replacing her with an alternate would avoid further delay.

“With due respect and consideration to the parties’ various interests and reasons for asking the board to replace Judge Amano, the board cannot and will not sidestep its own administrative responsibility to exercise judgment and common sense regarding whether the selection process up until now has objectively appeared to be fair,” the order said. “Common sense must prevail.”

The situation is a strange one. Despite the fact that the judge would likely rule fairly, TMT wanted her removed because they expect their opponents to eventually dispute any favorable decision she makes because of her link to the astronomy center. By refusing to remove her, the state is actually taking the side of the telescope’s opponents, since their main tactic is delay.

I hope TMT’s builders are making serious plans for finding an alternative site. I do not expect them to ever get permission to build in Hawaii.

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TMT calls for removal of official supervising permit process

The University of Hawaii has filed a motion to have the hearing officer in charge of the new permitting process for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) removed.

What the lawyers for TMT appear to be doing is trying to prevent further delaying tactics by those opposing the telescope. Their motion describes these delaying tactics, which involve questioning the objectivity of various officials involved, but doing it piecemeal in order to slow the permitting process down as much as possible. The officer in question has membership in an astronomy center, and though the anti-TMT forces have not yet questioned this, TMT lawyers want to act now to remove that possibility later.

Once again, I think TMT officials are spinning their wheels. Hawaii will never give them permission to build TMT. Read the ten-point plan of Hawaii’s governor for protecting Mauna Kea and you will agree. They should move the telescope to a more friendly location as soon as possible.

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ESO signs giant telescope contract

The European Southern Observatory today signed the contract to begin building the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT).

The contract covers the design, manufacture, transport, construction, on-site assembly and verification of the dome and telescope structure. With an approximate value of 400 million euros, it is the largest contract ever awarded by ESO and the largest contract ever in ground-based astronomy. The E-ELT dome and telescope structure will take telescope engineering into new territory. The contract includes not only the enormous 85-metre-diameter rotating dome, with a total mass of around 5000 tonnes, but also the telescope mounting and tube structure, with a total moving mass of more than 3000 tonnes. Both of these structures are by far the largest ever built for an optical/infrared telescope and dwarf all existing ones. The dome is almost 80 metres high and its footprint is comparable in area to a football pitch.

The E-ELT is being built on Cerro Armazones, a 3000-metre peak about 20 kilometres from ESO’s Paranal Observatory. The access road and leveling of the summit have already been completed and work on the dome is expected to start on site in 2017.

E-ELT will have a main mirror 39 meters in width, about 9 meters bigger than the stalled TMT project.

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TMT permitting process about to begin anew

The retired Hawaiian judge who will supervise the new permitting process for the Thirty Meter Telescope held a prelminary meeting on Monday to discuss scheduling and procedual matters.

The Hawaiian authorities have been slow-walking this new permiting process, which the telescope already completed according to law years ago. I say TMT should just leave Hawaii so its citizens can enjoy their barren mountain and the lack of jobs and wealth it will bring them.

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TMT consortium considers India for telescope

India is now a second candidate location to replace Hawaii for the Thirty Meter Telescope.

Hanle in Ladakh has been short-listed as a prospective site by the TMT board following major hurdles in Mauna Kea, Hawaii – the first choice for the project. An international team is expected to visit Ladakh in a couple of months. … India is already building edge sensors, actuators and system support support assemblies, besides contributing to the software of TMT. India is expected to invest $212 million in the project.

Not only is India contributing technology and money to the telescope, institutes in the country are also participating in the consortium.

Two major scientific institutions – the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) Bengaluru and the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune – along with two government departments having working on the project since 2013. The department of science and technology (DST) and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) are the government partners, while IIA is the nodal agency.

I think the odds continue to increase that TMT will abandon Hawaii, especially since the state government there continues to drag its feet.

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TMT leadership looks at alternatives to Hawaii

Though they have refused to comment publicly, the Facebook page for the Thirty Meter Telescope on Monday showed the telescope’s management visiting the Canary Islands, a potential alternative site to Hawaii.

Their Facebook post serves two purposes. It shows that they mean business when they say they must start considering abandoning Hawaii. It also might force the Hawaiian state government to stop dragging its feet in the permitting process that protesters have forced TMT to go through, a second time.

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TMT might abandon Hawaii

The consortium building the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) decided last week that, because of the delays forced on them by protesters in Hawaii, they are going to start identifying alternative locations.

I don’t think they have a choice. They want to start construction no later than 2018, which already involves a three year delay from their original schedule and significant additional costs. I doubt there is any chance that the permit process, which took years the first time they did it, can take anywhere close to that.

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TMT to repeat hearings before state

After years of doing everything the state of Hawaii demanded in order to get permission to build the Thirty Meter Telescope, a state judge today ordered that the whole process should start over again.

Since this order was instigated by the protesters, and that it appears the government favors those protesters, I expect that there is no chance TMT will ever get approval to build in Hawaii. Though the university consortium building the telescope says they want to go through the new process to get permission, they are wasting their time. It will never happen. The peasants with the pitchforks and burning torches, terrified of new knowledge while preferring the worship of a mountain, are in control in Hawaii.

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