The Universe Tonight
THE UNIVERSE TONIGHT
Saturday, October 6th, 2012
Dr. Ruisheng Peng
Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) --- The Next Generation Telescope on Mauna Kea
Ever since Galileo peered through his home-made telescope toward Saturn over 400 years ago, telescopes and observational astronomy have seen enormous changes: telescope apertures have been doubling at a pace of roughly every 30 years; scientific instruments have been built to explore the full spectrum of light from X-ray to radio from both ground-based and space observatories. The frontier of astronomical discoveries demands telescopes of ever powerful light-gathering capability and sharp space resolving power to look back at the early days of the Universe and to search for Earth-like planets around their Suns.
Summit of Mauna Kea is one of the world-class premier sites for observational astronomy. Following the evolutionary path of the Keck telescope here on Mauna Kea, TMT will use 492 segmented mirrors to make up a single hyperboloidal surface 30 meters in size. Adaptive optics will be an integral part of the telescope design to mitigate the effects of atmospheric turbulence and to enable true diffraction-limited imaging on the ground. Three first light instruments will provide wide-field imaging and spectroscopy capabilities at near-ultraviolet to optical wavelengths, as well as diffraction-limited imaging and spectroscopy in near-infrared to explore the broad astronomical terrain from the first stars in the Universe to planets orbiting nearby stars. If you are interested and want to learn about the new up and coming Thirty Meter Telescope, come join us at the Visitor Information Station, as Dr. Ruisheng Peng discusses the TMT’s design, first light instruments and science goals.
Ruisheng Peng is an astrophysicist with research interests in the early phases of star formation, and chemical and physical processes in molecular clouds. He has spent the past fifteen years with the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory, and is now helping with the Thirty Meter Telescope Project in Hawaii.
On the first Saturday of each month, the Visitor Information Station (VIS) hosts The Universe Tonight, a special presentation on the current research and discoveries occurring on Mauna Kea. The presentation begins at 6:00 PM and is followed by the regular evening stargazing program at the VIS.
The Universe Tonight typically features an astronomer from one of the observatories on Mauna Kea giving a presentation on recent observations and discoveries from their telescope. Observatories are on a rotating schedule. If you would like to know about upcoming presentations, please call the VIS at (808) 961-2180 during operational hours.