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Computer graphic of the new Thirty Meter Telescope.

There is a new Big Eye coming to the planet.

The largest optical telescope on earth right now is the Keck complex on
Mauna Kea in Hawaii, which consists of two telescopes each with a 10
meter mirror. But there is a new telescope in the works, one dubbed for
right now at least the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), which will have a
mirror measuring 30 meters and an aperture of f/1. From what I can
determine the TMT won't be a dual telescope like the Keck (which functions
like a whoppingly big pair of binoculars) but will be a single telescope.
Evidently the TMT is planned as a "big punch" telescope to be used as a
supplement to and work in conjunction with other telescopes such as the

The planned location of the TMT has now been reduced to two possible
sites — Cerro Armazones in Chile's Atacama Desert and and Mauna Kea in

It's my guess — just speculation — that it will be in Hawaii. The
committee that will build the TMT is a joint American/Canadian effort
and it makes sense, all things being equal, to keep the telescope close
to home.

If all goes well, the TMT will be up and looking out at the stars by
2018. In the meantime, the Keck will remain lord of its domain —
which given the size of the universe is really just a tiny speck.