Sunday | December 10, 2017
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‘TMT: A Perspective from Japan’: ‘Imiloa hosting presentation about project’s challenges

While initially planned by institutions in North America, the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope has grown into an ambitious multinational partnership involving institutes from Japan, China and India, in addition to the U.S. and Canada.

The public is invited to learn more about the Japanese perspective about TMT and the progress and challenges of building this next-generation instrument during the next Maunakea Skies talk at 7 p.m. Friday at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center.

“Scientific and Engineering Challenges of the Thirty Meter Telescope: A Perspective from Japan” will be presented by TMT-Japan representative Masanori Iye.

Japan’s interest in the next-generation telescope dates back to the completion of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan’s Subaru Telescope atop Mauna Kea in 1999 and Subaru’s subsequent campaign to look deep into the history of the universe, using a unique wide-field camera able to spot galaxies at 13 billion light years away.

The success of this campaign — highlighted by the 2006 discovery of the most distant galaxy, IOK-1, which held the world record for five years — led to the enthusiastic support of Japan’s participation with TMT.

Building on the legacy of Subaru Telescope, Japan assumed responsibility for designing and building the TMT structure, and providing 576 special glass blanks for the 30-meter primary mirror, with much of the work well underway in Japan.

In his presentation, Iye will discuss in detail the engineering and innovation involved in the building of the TMT, along with the challenges involved. He also will touch on some of the discoveries the TMT is projected to identify by the late 2020s. These future discoveries are expected to include the history of the early universe, when the first stars and galaxies were formed, detailed studies of extrasolar planets and their formation process, and the nature of dark matter and dark energy.

Iye received his doctorate of science (astronomy) at the University of Tokyo. He is now a professor emeritus of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, and serves as the Japan representative of the TMT project.

Hosted by planetarium technician Emily Peavy, ‘Imiloa’s monthly Maunakea Skies program includes observational highlights of the current night sky over Hawaii, with the audience able to view prominent constellations and stars visible this time of year.

Maunakea Skies planetarium presentations are on the third Friday of every month. General admission is $10 or $8 for members (member level discounts apply). Pre-purchase tickets at ‘Imiloa’s front desk or call 932-8901.

For more information about ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, visit


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