World’s biggest optical telescope in the making

A 30-meter, $1-billion optical telescope that’s in the making promises to bring our Universe 10-times closer. A dream come true for astronomers, it will allow for the study of earlier galaxies, and maybe even take us into the space beyond our solar system.

Headed by the California Institute of Technology, the telescope is called the Thirty-Meter-Telescope or TMT and word is that it will exceed the capabilities of its rival telescopes: the 24.5 meter giant Magellan Telescope, and the 42-meter Extremely Long Telescope; and it is the biggest news to hit astronomy since the launch of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in 1990.

Plans are for it to be located in Mexico, Chile or Hawaii; the design is to be finalized in 2009 and its completion is tapped for 2016.

Look how far we have come: Galileo’s handmade telescope in the 17th Century — which was not more than 2-meters in size — to this humongous thing that will further revolutionize our understanding of what has so far been beyond us.

I think the fact that we were able to turn something that was once used to peek into our neighbors backyard, into something that allows you to look beyond your planet, is fascinating and so underrated. The boons of science never fail to leave me in awe.