Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Thirty Meter Telescope Builders Choose Alternative Site To Mauna Kea In Hawaii

          By Henry Stewart

Reuters has reported that the team behind the Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT) has chosen La Palma, the most westerly of the Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco, as the primary alternative to its originally planned TMT construction site in Hawaii.

Protesters during the first of many blockades which started at the Mauna Kea visitors center and were intended to stop construction of the TMT. Photo Holly Johnson/Hawaii Tribune-Herald via AP.

As outlined in the October 31st, 2016 Reuters post, "Telescope group chooses Canary Islands as alternative to Hawaii," the decision "follows opposition from Native Hawaiians and environmentalists" to the original plans for constructing the TMT at the Maunakea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island.

In an October 31st, 2016 TMT press release under the title "Statement Regarding Selection of Alternate Site for TMT," quoted Henry Yang, the chair of the TMT International Observatory Board as saying:
After careful deliberation, the Board of Governors has identified Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (ORM) on La Palma in the Canary Islands, Spain as the primary alternative to Hawaii. 
Maunakea continues to be the preferred choice for the location of the Thirty Meter Telescope, and the TIO Board will continue intensive efforts to gain approval for TMT in Hawaii. TIO is very grateful to all of our supporters and friends throughout Hawaii, and we deeply appreciate their continued support.
As outlined in the December 6th, 2015 post, "Hawaii Supreme Court Rescinds Permit to Build Thirty Meter Telescope," the Hawaiian state supreme court rescinded the TMT construction permits in December 2015, after local protests erupted.

On October 20th, 2016 the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources opened a new set of hearings on the project, with a retired judge overseeing those proceedings. Of course, if those new hearings don't go well, the TMT now has a potential new location.

Overview of the TMT. Graphic c/o Lance Hayashida/ Caltech.

The project has a number of Canadian connections.

Henry Stewart is the pseudonym of a Toronto based aerospace writer.

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