Hawaii approves 30-meter optical telescope project
Hawaii has finally approved the proposal to build the world's largest optical telescope at the top of Mauna Kea volcano.
The approval, given by the Hawaii Board of Land & Natural Resources, has cleared the way for the group responsible for the project to start negotiations with the University of Hawaii for subleasing land for the telescope.
The project is expected to cost more than $1 billion. While the California Institute of Technology, the University of California system, and the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy are leading the telescope project; Asian countries China, Japan and India are partners in the project.
At completion, the telescope will be thirty meters long. It will enable astronomers to observe planets outside our solar system. In other words, it will help them discover new planets and stars.
As per an estimate, the upcoming huge telescope will enable astronomers have a glimpse of nearly 13 billion light-years away.
The telescope's nearly 100-foot long segmented primary mirror will produce up to three-time sharper images than the ones produced by the world's existing best telescopes.
While the government and astronomers are looking at the project as a great step towards understanding of the Universe, some Hawaiian groups are opposing the project, arguing that it is not right to set up the telescope at the top of sacred mountain.
Mauna Kea volcano is the highest point in Hawaii and Hawaiians believe that high altitudes are gateways to heaven, and are thus sacred.