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Hawaii’s Largest ‘Eye On The Universe’, Built With Indian Help



Hawaii's Largest 'Eye On The Universe', Built With Indian Help

(CTN News) – With the critical assistance of Indian scientists, engineers, and industries, the world’s largest “eye on the universe” — an optical, infrared, 30-metre telescope (TMT) — is fast coming into being at its proposed location in Maunakea in Hawaii.

TMT will be the world’s largest telescope with a cost of over $2.6 billion, with collaboration from India, the US, Japan, Canada and China, according to Prasanna Deshmukh, 35.

In addition to handling the crucial actuators and edge sensors for the telescope, Deshmukh is the work package manager for TMT’s primary mirror control system.

Indian collaborators include the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune, the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bengaluru, and the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), Nainital.

According to Deshmukh, the TMT will allow us to peer into the early Universe (about 13.7 billion light years away) from one light year (in our solar system).

The Andromeda Galaxy is approximately 25 lakh light years distant from our Milky Way Galaxy, so imagine the power and reach of the TMT.”

Presently, the two largest telescopes – both space-based – are the Hubble Space Telescope (diameter 2.5 m, 1990, 535 km above Earth) and the James Webb Space Telescope (diameter 6.5 m, 2021, around 15 lakh kilometers away from Earth, orbiting the Sun), which are considerably smaller than the upcoming ground-based TMT, which has a diameter of 30 m, which will be five times larger.

TMT will enable scientists to view planets, stars, galaxies, exoplanets, nebulas, supernovas, and pulsars in unimaginable far-off regions of the Universe, conduct spectroscopy on such heavy objects to study their atmospheres, and much more.

We should determine if life exists there or if it is capable of thriving there, scout the possibility of a future “cool address” for earthlings and test the varied hypotheses regarding the existence of aliens.

Because of the limited size and resolution of the current generation of scopes that operate in optical, ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths, it is not possible to view many things.

In addition to opening up previously unknown avenues to comprehend the mysteries and splendors of the vast universe, the TMT will also provide insight into its true dimensions, according to Deshmukh.

The TMT, according to Deshmukh, consists of 492 hexagonal mirrors connected to 1,476 actuators, 2,772 high-precision edge sensors, and 10,332 smaller actuators that will align all mirrors, detect even the tiniest deviations, and correct them in order to provide clear images from staggering distances in the universe.

The mirrors and other components are made of highly specialized zero thermal expansion glass to prevent blurring of images caused by temperature fluctuations. According to Deshmukh, the telescope will be equipped with an ‘Extreme Adaptive Optics’ system that will reduce disturbances caused by the Earth’s atmosphere as it tracks different celestial objects.
Some 50-plus Indian industries are participating in the mega venture through different components, and approximately 200 scientists, engineers, experts, technicians, and others are involved directly or indirectly.

According to current plans, the TMT will “open its eye” to the Universe by 2032, which was extended from the original date of 2028. ANU

Are there parts of the universe we Cannot see?

Some parts of the universe are too far away for the light emitted since the Big Bang to have had enough time to reach Earth or space-based instruments, and therefore lie outside the observable universe.


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