Fate of giant telescopes in the balance as U.S. astronomers debate priorities

Jan 27, 2020
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“Decadal survey” considers $1.8-billion bailout for Thirty Meter Telescope and Giant Magellan Telescope

1 SEP 2021, 1:20 PM, BY DANIEL CLERY

nid_telescopes.jpg
The Giant Magellan Telescope (left) and the Thirty Meter Telescope, shown in artists’ concepts, are making a joint pitch for federal funding.GIANT MAGELLAN TELESCOPE/GMTO CORPORATION; TMT INTERNATIONAL OBSERVATORY

Roughly every 10 years since the 1960s, U.S. astronomers have provided a valuable show of consensus to U.S. funding agencies and Congress by agreeing on which questions and new facilities are critical to the field. But the current “decadal survey,” known as Astro2020 and scheduled to be published at any time, faces a particularly knotty question, one that could settle whether the United States stays in the front rank of ground-based observing. Should the National Science Foundation (NSF) come to the rescue of two struggling private projects to build giant optical telescopes in exchange for a chunk of observing time?

The future of the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT)* and the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT)** likely depends on whether the survey recommends that NSF spend what sources put at $1.8 billion to support a recently forged partnership between the projects. If it does, other proposals could lose out, such as a continent-spanning radio array and detectors for neutrinos and other cosmic particles. (Space missions are ranked separately.)

Understandably, astronomers are divided. The GMT-TMT proposal “is critical for the field to thrive,” says John O’Meara, chief scientist of the W. M. Keck Observatory. With Europe pushing ahead with its own giant telescope, “If a federal partnership does not happen, I believe that the U.S., which has been the international leader in the field of astronomy for a century, will pass that role on to Europe,” says Wendy Freedman of the University of Chicago. But Richard Ellis of University College London, former director of the Palomar Observatory, believes rescuing both telescopes would cost “too much money and would eclipse so many other things.”

For ground-based optical astronomers, giant telescopes with mirrors about 30 meters across are the obvious next step after the huge advances made with today’s 10-meter scopes. O’Meara says there is no other way to image an Earth-like planet around a red dwarf star, for example. “No matter how tricky you get, the laws of physics overrule you,” he says. “Aperture is king.”

Telescope designers have been planning such behemoths since the 1990s, and the European Southern Observatory is laying the foundations for its 39-meter Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) on the summit of Cerro Armazones in Chile, with first light due in 2027. But divisions over technology and funding have hampered the two U.S.-led projects. The TMT, to be built in Hawaii by the California Institute of Technology and the University of California (UC), will have a honeycomb mirror built of 492 hexagonal segments. In contrast, the GMT, led by the Carnegie Institution for Science, will arrange six 8.4-meter mirrors around a seventh, giving the Chile-based telescope an aperture of 24.5 meters. The projects had early talks about joining forces, but “there was no desire to abandon their telescopes,” Ellis says. “Once money started flowing, it was impossible to merge.”

The 2000 decadal survey rated a giant segmented-mirror telescope (essentially the TMT) as the No. 1 U.S. priority in ground-based projects. NSF started discussions with the TMT about partnership in the project, but backed away after the GMT objected. In the 2010 decadal a giant ground-based scope dropped to No. 3, behind a large survey telescope and an instrument innovation program—a decision that essentially killed federal involvement for another 10 years. “That really damaged the momentum of the project,” says Garth Illingworth of UC Santa Cruz.

Both projects set out to raise their own funds, but neither has sufficient money so far. The TMT has also faced continued opposition, including legal challenges, from Native Hawaiians to building such a large structure on Mauna Kea, which they consider sacred.

For the current decadal, the projects have finally united into a two-telescope package that would give all U.S. astronomers access to at least 25% of the observing time in exchange for the $1.8 billion (a figure that is not officially confirmed). This deal, dubbed US-ELT, would give U.S. astronomers an advantage over Europeans: front rank telescopes in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. “The U.S. really does need [giant telescopes] to follow up on other investments on the ground and in space,” Illingworth says.

Those include the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), set for launch later this year. The JWST should revolutionize astronomy by picking out objects including the earliest galaxies with its pin-sharp infrared eyes, but fine-grained spectrometers on the ground will be needed to follow up on some discoveries. Then there is NSF’s Vera C. Rubin Observatory in Chile, a survey telescope that from 2023 will carry out a census of the sky nearly every night, identifying thousands of objects demanding closer investigation. “It would be an admission of defeat to let Europe take over this area,” Illingworth says.

Others say the U.S. giants are too far behind to avoid that outcome, and the costs are prohibitive. “How can you make a sales pitch for two telescopes when the rest of the world has one?” Ellis asks. Astronomers also worry about the consequences of funding US-ELT for projects such as a next-generation upgrade of the Very Large Array Radio Telescope (ngVLA) in New Mexico into a continent-spanning network of 263 dishes. “The ngVLA is no silly idea, it’s something we must do,” O’Meara says. The science cases behind upgrading the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole and building a next-generation detector for the cosmic microwave background radiation are similarly compelling.

The decadal may also decide that U.S. astronomy doesn’t need to pursue an endless quest for ever-greater expanses of glass on the ground. Some astronomers think the greatest potential for discovery lies in modest new telescopes, or upgrades of older ones, with multiobject spectrographs that can scrutinize thousands of objects at once. “It’s a different vision,” says Ray Carlberg of the University of Toronto, and one that requires a team-based approach more familiar to particle physicists. “So much more science can be done with large groups of collaborators working together on a range of projects,” says Jennifer Marshall of Texas A&M University, College Station, project scientist of the proposed Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer.

The 20-strong decadal committee, after a delay of more than 6 months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, should soon deliver its verdict, bringing joy to some and misery to others. “You need really big pockets” to build giant telescopes, Carlberg says. “The only people who can build them now are nations or consortia of nations.”

See: https://www.science.org/content/article/fate-giant-telescopes-balance-u-s-astronomers-debate-priorities

* Light gathered by the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) from the edge of the universe will first reflect off of the seven primary mirrors, then reflect again off of the seven smaller secondary mirrors, and finally, down through the center primary mirror to the advanced CCD (charge coupled device) imaging cameras. There, the concentrated light will be measured to determine how far away objects are and what they are made of.

The GMT primary mirrors are made at the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab at the University of Arizona in Tucson. They are a marvel of modern engineering and glassmaking; each segment is curved to a very precise shape and polished to within a wavelength of light—approximately one-millionth of an inch. Although the GMT mirrors will represent a much larger array than any telescope, the total weight of the glass is far less than one might expect. This is accomplished by using a honeycomb mold, whereby the finished glass is mostly hollow. The glass mold is placed inside a giant rotating oven where it is “spin cast,” giving the glass a natural parabolic shape. This greatly reduces the amount of grinding required to shape the glass and also reduces weight. Finally, since the giant mirrors are essentially hollow, they can be cooled with fans to help equalize them to the night air temperature, thus minimizing distortion from heat.

One of the most sophisticated engineering aspects of the telescope is what is known as “adaptive optics.” The telescope’s secondary mirrors are actually flexible. Under each secondary mirror surface, there are hundreds of actuators that will constantly adjust the mirrors to counteract atmospheric turbulence. These actuators, controlled by advanced computers, will transform twinkling stars into clear steady points of light. It is in this way that the GMT will offer images that are ten times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope’s.

overview-how.png.gmt.jpg

The location of the GMT also offers a key advantage in terms of seeing through the atmosphere. Located in one of the highest and driest regions on earth, Chile’s Atacama Desert, the GMT will have spectacular conditions for more than 300 nights a year. Las Campanas Peak (“Cerro Las Campanas”), where the GMT will be located, has an altitude of over 2,550 meters or approximately 8,500 feet. The site is almost completely barren of vegetation due to lack of rainfall. The combination of seeing, number of clear nights, altitude, weather and vegetation make Las Campanas Peak an ideal location for the GMT.

See: https://www.gmto.org/overview/

** The Thirty Meter Telescope is a new class of extremely large telescopes that will allow us to see deeper into space and observe cosmic objects with unprecedented sensitivity. With its 30 m prime mirror diameter, TMT will be three times as wide, with nine times more area, than the largest currently existing visible-light telescope in the world. This will provide unparalleled resolution with TMT images more than 12 times sharper than those from the Hubble Space Telescope. When operational, TMT will provide new observational opportunities in essentially every field of astronomy and astrophysics. Observing in wavelengths ranging from the ultraviolet to the mid-infrared, this unique instrument will allow astronomers to address fundamental questions in astronomy ranging from understanding star and planet formation to unraveling the history of galaxies and the development of large-scale structure in the universe.

what-is-tmt.png

The Thirty Meter Telescope will be the amongst the largest ground-based observatories in the world and will provide new observational opportunities in essentially every field of astronomy and astrophysics. Astronomers will pursue further advancement of our inderstanding in several key science areas, including:
  • Spectroscopic exploration of the “dark ages” when the first sources of light and the first heavy elements in the universe formed;
  • Exploration of galaxies and large-scale structure in the young universe, including the era in which most of the stars and heavy elements were formed and the galaxies in today’s universe were first assembled
  • Investigations of massive black holes throughout cosmic time
  • Exploration of planet-formation processes and the characterization of extra-solar planets
  • Exoplanet discovery observations that push into the terrestrial-planet regime
Furthermore, as has been the case for every previous increase in capability of this magnitude, it is very likely that the scientific impact of TMT will go far beyond what we envision today and TMT will enable discoveries that we cannot anticipate.

See: https://www.ucobservatories.org/observatory/thirty-meter-telescope/

See: https://www.tmt.org/page/science-themes

In the quest for an Extra-Large Telescope (ELT), the U.S. has managed to produce two competing projects, the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) and the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT). Both have received shortfalls in funding, and neither appears likely to begin operations before the decade is out; each might put the financial skids on the other. The TMT's early stages of construction on the Hawaiian volcano Mauna Kea — a site unrivaled for pristine views of the Northern Hemisphere sky — sparked protests from conservation and Native Hawaiian activists who see telescopes there as an affront to the mountain, which Native Hawaiians hold sacred. Construction on the TMT ceased after protesters repeatedly blocked the road to the mountaintop; the conflict remains stalled and another site has been found and permits pulled for the Canary Islands. "If [Astro2020] says, 'Forget the ELTs; let's prioritize something else instead,' then it's quite possible that both the TMT and the GMT will die a financial death after having spent millions in start up costs," says a senior ground-based astronomer familiar with the deteriorating situation.

Astro2000's top-ranked space project, NASA's flagship James Webb Telescope, is a technological marvel: a cryogenically cooled infrared observatory with a uniquely segmented 6.5 m mirror that folds, origami-like, to fit in the nosecone of a multi-stage rocket. Following
a staggering number of cost overruns, poor financial forecasts and delays that hobbled planning for other projects, the current best-case is that the telescope will reach space no sooner than this mid-November, if it does this year, operating for just a decade before it grows to war due to its loss of coolant, it'll have a total project cost of more than $10 billion.

If Webb retains the same hunger unleashed by Astro2000 and its antecedents gobbling off more than could be chewed, then the top flagship recommendation of Astro2010, NASA's the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope was a different animal entirely — a cut-rate cobbled together gizmo the Decadal committee put together willy-nilly from the piles of multiple competing mission concepts. Originally envisioned to study dark energy with a barebones instrument package and a mirror scarcely half the size of Hubble's, Roman was projected to launch as early as 2020 on a comparatively tight budget of less than $2 billion. To many expert eyes, such a cheap slap-dash project barely qualified for its supposed "flagship" status. NASA, hammered by bipartisan congressional blessings, ultimately added more instruments and upgraded Roman's mirror to the same size as Hubble's, enhancing its science objectives and assuaging many criticisms — but nearly doubling its estimated cost and setting back its launch to sometime around 2025.

And so this muddled mess is what passes for America's planned and unplanned ground and space based instruments for observing the universe for the next decade. Whoa. We'll have to bide our time to see what the Decadal Committee decides to do next with our tax money.
Hartmann352
 
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Sep 6, 2021
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“Decadal survey” considers $1.8-billion bailout for Thirty Meter Telescope and Giant Magellan Telescope

1 SEP 2021, 1:20 PM, BY DANIEL CLERY

View attachment 1471
The Giant Magellan Telescope (left) and the Thirty Meter Telescope, shown in artists’ concepts, are making a joint pitch for federal funding.GIANT MAGELLAN TELESCOPE/GMTO CORPORATION; TMT INTERNATIONAL OBSERVATORY

Roughly every 10 years since the 1960s, U.S. astronomers have provided a valuable show of consensus to U.S. funding agencies and Congress by agreeing on which questions and new facilities are critical to the field. But the current “decadal survey,” known as Astro2020 and scheduled to be published at any time, faces a particularly knotty question, one that could settle whether the United States stays in the front rank of ground-based observing. Should the National Science Foundation (NSF) come to the rescue of two struggling private projects to build giant optical telescopes in exchange for a chunk of observing time?

The future of the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT)* and the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT)** likely depends on whether the survey recommends that NSF spend what sources put at $1.8 billion to support a recently forged partnership between the projects. If it does, other proposals could lose out, such as a continent-spanning radio array and detectors for neutrinos and other cosmic particles. (Space missions are ranked separately.)

Understandably, astronomers are divided. The GMT-TMT proposal “is critical for the field to thrive,” says John O’Meara, chief scientist of the W. M. Keck Observatory. With Europe pushing ahead with its own giant telescope, “If a federal partnership does not happen, I believe that the U.S., which has been the international leader in the field of astronomy for a century, will pass that role on to Europe,” says Wendy Freedman of the University of Chicago. But Richard Ellis of University College London, former director of the Palomar Observatory, believes rescuing both telescopes would cost “too much money and would eclipse so many other things.”

For ground-based optical astronomers, giant telescopes with mirrors about 30 meters across are the obvious next step after the huge advances made with today’s 10-meter scopes. O’Meara says there is no other way to image an Earth-like planet around a red dwarf star, for example. “No matter how tricky you get, the laws of physics overrule you,” he says. “Aperture is king.”

Telescope designers have been planning such behemoths since the 1990s, and the European Southern Observatory is laying the foundations for its 39-meter Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) on the summit of Cerro Armazones in Chile, with first light due in 2027. But divisions over technology and funding have hampered the two U.S.-led projects. The TMT, to be built in Hawaii by the California Institute of Technology and the University of California (UC), will have a honeycomb mirror built of 492 hexagonal segments. In contrast, the GMT, led by the Carnegie Institution for Science, will arrange six 8.4-meter mirrors around a seventh, giving the Chile-based telescope an aperture of 24.5 meters. The projects had early talks about joining forces, but “there was no desire to abandon their telescopes,” Ellis says. “Once money started flowing, it was impossible to merge.”

The 2000 decadal survey rated a giant segmented-mirror telescope (essentially the TMT) as the No. 1 U.S. priority in ground-based projects. NSF started discussions with the TMT about partnership in the project, but backed away after the GMT objected. In the 2010 decadal a giant ground-based scope dropped to No. 3, behind a large survey telescope and an instrument innovation program—a decision that essentially killed federal involvement for another 10 years. “That really damaged the momentum of the project,” says Garth Illingworth of UC Santa Cruz.

Both projects set out to raise their own funds, but neither has sufficient money so far. The TMT has also faced continued opposition, including legal challenges, from Native Hawaiians to building such a large structure on Mauna Kea, which they consider sacred.

For the current decadal, the projects have finally united into a two-telescope package that would give all U.S. astronomers access to at least 25% of the observing time in exchange for the $1.8 billion (a figure that is not officially confirmed). This deal, dubbed US-ELT, would give U.S. astronomers an advantage over Europeans: front rank telescopes in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. “The U.S. really does need [giant telescopes] to follow up on other investments on the ground and in space,” Illingworth says.

Those include the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), set for launch later this year. The JWST should revolutionize astronomy by picking out objects including the earliest galaxies with its pin-sharp infrared eyes, but fine-grained spectrometers on the ground will be needed to follow up on some discoveries. Then there is NSF’s Vera C. Rubin Observatory in Chile, a survey telescope that from 2023 will carry out a census of the sky nearly every night, identifying thousands of objects demanding closer investigation. “It would be an admission of defeat to let Europe take over this area,” Illingworth says.

Others say the U.S. giants are too far behind to avoid that outcome, and the costs are prohibitive. “How can you make a sales pitch for two telescopes when the rest of the world has one?” Ellis asks. Astronomers also worry about the consequences of funding US-ELT for projects such as a next-generation upgrade of the Very Large Array Radio Telescope (ngVLA) in New Mexico into a continent-spanning network of 263 dishes. “The ngVLA is no silly idea, it’s something we must do,” O’Meara says. The science cases behind upgrading the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole and building a next-generation detector for the cosmic microwave background radiation are similarly compelling.

The decadal may also decide that U.S. astronomy doesn’t need to pursue an endless quest for ever-greater expanses of glass on the ground. Some astronomers think the greatest potential for discovery lies in modest new telescopes, or upgrades of older ones, with multiobject spectrographs that can scrutinize thousands of objects at once. “It’s a different vision,” says Ray Carlberg of the University of Toronto, and one that requires a team-based approach more familiar to particle physicists. “So much more science can be done with large groups of collaborators working together on a range of projects,” says Jennifer Marshall of Texas A&M University, College Station, project scientist of the proposed Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer.

The 20-strong decadal committee, after a delay of more than 6 months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, should soon deliver its verdict, bringing joy to some and misery to others. “You need really big pockets” to build giant telescopes, Carlberg says. “The only people who can build them now are nations or consortia of nations.”

See: https://www.science.org/content/article/fate-giant-telescopes-balance-u-s-astronomers-debate-priorities

* Light gathered by the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) from the edge of the universe will first reflect off of the seven primary mirrors, then reflect again off of the seven smaller secondary mirrors, and finally, down through the center primary mirror to the advanced CCD (charge coupled device) imaging cameras. There, the concentrated light will be measured to determine how far away objects are and what they are made of.

The GMT primary mirrors are made at the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab at the University of Arizona in Tucson. They are a marvel of modern engineering and glassmaking; each segment is curved to a very precise shape and polished to within a wavelength of light—approximately one-millionth of an inch. Although the GMT mirrors will represent a much larger array than any telescope, the total weight of the glass is far less than one might expect. This is accomplished by using a honeycomb mold, whereby the finished glass is mostly hollow. The glass mold is placed inside a giant rotating oven where it is “spin cast,” giving the glass a natural parabolic shape. This greatly reduces the amount of grinding required to shape the glass and also reduces weight. Finally, since the giant mirrors are essentially hollow, they can be cooled with fans to help equalize them to the night air temperature, thus minimizing distortion from heat.

One of the most sophisticated engineering aspects of the telescope is what is known as “adaptive optics.” The telescope’s secondary mirrors are actually flexible. Under each secondary mirror surface, there are hundreds of actuators that will constantly adjust the mirrors to counteract atmospheric turbulence. These actuators, controlled by advanced computers, will transform twinkling stars into clear steady points of light. It is in this way that the GMT will offer images that are ten times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope’s.

View attachment 1472

The location of the GMT also offers a key advantage in terms of seeing through the atmosphere. Located in one of the highest and driest regions on earth, Chile’s Atacama Desert, the GMT will have spectacular conditions for more than 300 nights a year. Las Campanas Peak (“Cerro Las Campanas”), where the GMT will be located, has an altitude of over 2,550 meters or approximately 8,500 feet. The site is almost completely barren of vegetation due to lack of rainfall. The combination of seeing, number of clear nights, altitude, weather and vegetation make Las Campanas Peak an ideal location for the GMT.

See: https://www.gmto.org/overview/

** The Thirty Meter Telescope is a new class of extremely large telescopes that will allow us to see deeper into space and observe cosmic objects with unprecedented sensitivity. With its 30 m prime mirror diameter, TMT will be three times as wide, with nine times more area, than the largest currently existing visible-light telescope in the world. This will provide unparalleled resolution with TMT images more than 12 times sharper than those from the Hubble Space Telescope. When operational, TMT will provide new observational opportunities in essentially every field of astronomy and astrophysics. Observing in wavelengths ranging from the ultraviolet to the mid-infrared, this unique instrument will allow astronomers to address fundamental questions in astronomy ranging from understanding star and planet formation to unraveling the history of galaxies and the development of large-scale structure in the universe.

View attachment 1473

The Thirty Meter Telescope will be the amongst the largest ground-based observatories in the world and will provide new observational opportunities in essentially every field of astronomy and astrophysics. Astronomers will pursue further advancement of our inderstanding in several key science areas, including:
  • Spectroscopic exploration of the “dark ages” when the first sources of light and the first heavy elements in the universe formed;
  • Exploration of galaxies and large-scale structure in the young universe, including the era in which most of the stars and heavy elements were formed and the galaxies in today’s universe were first assembled
  • Investigations of massive black holes throughout cosmic time
  • Exploration of planet-formation processes and the characterization of extra-solar planets
  • Exoplanet discovery observations that push into the terrestrial-planet regime
Furthermore, as has been the case for every previous increase in capability of this magnitude, it is very likely that the scientific impact of TMT will go far beyond what we envision today and TMT will enable discoveries that we cannot anticipate.

See: https://www.ucobservatories.org/observatory/thirty-meter-telescope/

See: https://www.tmt.org/page/science-themes

In the quest for an Extra-Large Telescope (ELT), the U.S. has managed to produce two competing projects, the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) and the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT). Both have received shortfalls in funding, and neither appears likely to begin operations before the decade is out; each might put the financial skids on the other. The TMT's early stages of construction on the Hawaiian volcano Mauna Kea — a site unrivaled for pristine views of the Northern Hemisphere sky — sparked protests from conservation and Native Hawaiian activists who see telescopes there as an affront to the mountain, which Native Hawaiians hold sacred. Construction on the TMT ceased after protesters repeatedly blocked the road to the mountaintop; the conflict remains stalled and another site has been found and permits pulled for the Canary Islands. "If [Astro2020] says, 'Forget the ELTs; let's prioritize something else instead,' then it's quite possible that both the TMT and the GMT will die a financial death after having spent millions in start up costs," says a senior ground-based astronomer familiar with the deteriorating situation.

Astro2000's top-ranked space project, NASA's flagship James Webb Telescope, is a technological marvel: a cryogenically cooled infrared observatory with a uniquely segmented 6.5 m mirror that folds, origami-like, to fit in the nosecone of a multi-stage rocket. Following
a staggering number of cost overruns, poor financial forecasts and delays that hobbled planning for other projects, the current best-case is that the telescope will reach space no sooner than this mid-November, if it does this year, operating for just a decade before it grows to war due to its loss of coolant, it'll have a total project cost of more than $10 billion.

If Webb retains the same hunger unleashed by Astro2000 and its antecedents gobbling off more than could be chewed, then the top flagship recommendation of Astro2010, NASA's the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope was a different animal entirely — a cut-rate cobbled together gizmo the Decadal committee put together willy-nilly from the piles of multiple competing mission concepts. Originally envisioned to study dark energy with a barebones instrument package and a mirror scarcely half the size of Hubble's, Roman was projected to launch as early as 2020 on a comparatively tight budget of less than $2 billion. To many expert eyes, such a cheap slap-dash project barely qualified for its supposed "flagship" status. NASA, hammered by bipartisan congressional blessings, ultimately added more instruments and upgraded Roman's mirror to the same size as Hubble's, enhancing its science objectives and assuaging many criticisms — but nearly doubling its estimated cost and setting back its launch to sometime around 2025.

And so this muddled mess is what passes for America's planned and unplanned ground and space based instruments for observing the universe for the next decade. Whoa. We'll have to bide our time to see what the Decadal Committee decides to do next with our tax money.
Hartmann352
All that a new telescope can do is take new photos of the same old stuff, why bother?
 
Jan 27, 2020
208
81
680
It may be the same old stuff, in many instances, but enhanced optics, better and larger mirrors, improved computers and software - all mean better images than Hubble and the possibilities of many new discoveries when one or more of these giant telescopes come on line.

Resolution also increases with a telescope’s diameter. Make a mirror twice as wide and it delivers twice as much detail. And thanks to a quirk of physics, you can reap the same benefit by placing smaller telescopes farther apart and then combining their light, through a process known as interferometry. (Radio astronomers using this technique produced the first image of a black hole earlier this year: a global network of radio telescopes saw across about 54 million light-years to capture the supermassive black hole at the center of the giant galaxy - M87.)


M87-AG12-crop.jpg
joecauchi.com.au

m87 jet.jpg
VLA image of the inner radio lobes of M87; the scale is 5 kpc.

bh accretion.jpg
Images of of the M87 jet at different frequencies from one of my MAD simulations (Chael+ 2018b). As the frequency increases, the brightest emission moves down the jet closer and closer to the black hole.



Imagine being able to examine the centers of galaxies like M-87 with even greater clarity than we can today. The heart of a computer controlled adaptive optics system is a thin, flexible, computer-controlled mirror. Astronomers target a fairly bright reference star close to the object they want to study. The computer analyzes the incoming light to measure how the atmosphere blurs it, then tells the control system how to adjust the mirror’s shape to correct the image in real-time. Because atmospheric turbulence changes constantly, such systems can alter the mirror’s shape up to 1,000 times each second. And if no bright reference star lies nearby — as often happens — astronomers can simply shine powerful laser beams from the ground based telescope into Earth’s upper atmosphere and create their own reference light.

Very soon, the Rubin Observatory. with its 8.4-meter 27.56 feet) primary mirror, should take just 15 seconds to deliver sharp images covering 9.6 square degrees of sky — equivalent to the area of more than 40 full Moons, and nearly 5,000 times the field of Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3. Rubin Observatory’s success is its 3.2-gigapixel imaging camera. It spans 5.5 by 9.8 feet and weighs about 6,200 pounds. This will enable the Rubin Observatory to take two consecutive 15-second images of a single patch of sky, and then quickly compare them to reject any stray radiation hitting the detectors. (It’s like taking multiple photos of your wife at the beach to digitally remove the other tourists.) The scope then whips to the next area of sky — a movement that takes just 10 seconds, on average — and repeats the process. Such rapid-fire imaging means the Rubin Observatory can cover the entire sky visible from Cerro Pachón every three days.

This is what's coming soon to revolutionize astronomy and astrophysics in the near future at just one telescope.

While "the same old stuff" may appear in the computer monitors in the telescope control stations of the future, the final product may in no way resemble the past images of the same locale. Who would've thought that we would be able to obtain images of black holes in a faraway galaxy like M87 or in our own Milky Way galaxy, Sgr A*.

m87 black hole.png

sciencenews.org

The above shows the black hole in Galaxy M87.


radio image Sgr A*.jpg
www.nrl.navy.mil'7213.lazia'GC

The above shows the black hole, Sgr A*, in the center of our Milky Way Galaxy.

Wouldn't it be grand, with the new telescopes aimed at Sgr A* to have equal or greater clarity brought into focus in the center of our Milky Way?
Hartmann352
 
Sep 6, 2021
16
1
35
It may be the same old stuff, in many instances, but enhanced optics, better and larger mirrors, improved computers and software - all mean better images than Hubble and the possibilities of many new discoveries when one or more of these giant telescopes come on line.

Resolution also increases with a telescope’s diameter. Make a mirror twice as wide and it delivers twice as much detail. And thanks to a quirk of physics, you can reap the same benefit by placing smaller telescopes farther apart and then combining their light, through a process known as interferometry. (Radio astronomers using this technique produced the first image of a black hole earlier this year: a global network of radio telescopes saw across about 54 million light-years to capture the supermassive black hole at the center of the giant galaxy - M87.)


View attachment 1484
joecauchi.com.au

View attachment 1487
VLA image of the inner radio lobes of M87; the scale is 5 kpc.

View attachment 1488
Images of of the M87 jet at different frequencies from one of my MAD simulations (Chael+ 2018b). As the frequency increases, the brightest emission moves down the jet closer and closer to the black hole.



Imagine being able to examine the centers of galaxies like M-87 with even greater clarity than we can today. The heart of a computer controlled adaptive optics system is a thin, flexible, computer-controlled mirror. Astronomers target a fairly bright reference star close to the object they want to study. The computer analyzes the incoming light to measure how the atmosphere blurs it, then tells the control system how to adjust the mirror’s shape to correct the image in real-time. Because atmospheric turbulence changes constantly, such systems can alter the mirror’s shape up to 1,000 times each second. And if no bright reference star lies nearby — as often happens — astronomers can simply shine powerful laser beams from the ground based telescope into Earth’s upper atmosphere and create their own reference light.

Very soon, the Rubin Observatory. with its 8.4-meter 27.56 feet) primary mirror, should take just 15 seconds to deliver sharp images covering 9.6 square degrees of sky — equivalent to the area of more than 40 full Moons, and nearly 5,000 times the field of Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3. Rubin Observatory’s success is its 3.2-gigapixel imaging camera. It spans 5.5 by 9.8 feet and weighs about 6,200 pounds. This will enable the Rubin Observatory to take two consecutive 15-second images of a single patch of sky, and then quickly compare them to reject any stray radiation hitting the detectors. (It’s like taking multiple photos of your wife at the beach to digitally remove the other tourists.) The scope then whips to the next area of sky — a movement that takes just 10 seconds, on average — and repeats the process. Such rapid-fire imaging means the Rubin Observatory can cover the entire sky visible from Cerro Pachón every three days.

This is what's coming soon to revolutionize astronomy and astrophysics in the near future at just one telescope.

While "the same old stuff" may appear in the computer monitors in the telescope control stations of the future, the final product may in no way resemble the past images of the same locale. Who would've thought that we would be able to obtain images of black holes in a faraway galaxy like M87 or in our own Milky Way galaxy, Sgr A*.

View attachment 1489

sciencenews.org

The above shows the black hole in Galaxy M87.


View attachment 1490
www.nrl.navy.mil'7213.lazia'GC

The above shows the black hole, Sgr A*, in the center of our Milky Way Galaxy.

Wouldn't it be grand, with the new telescopes aimed at Sgr A* to have equal or greater clarity brought into focus in the center of our Milky Way?
Hartmann352
The images that you posted literally show nothing, why? because at this juncture physicist are now claiming that the universe is not real but a simulation which is why gravity is not strong enough to be fueling the observed expansion.
 
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Actually, the initial number of physicists who published the paper on a numerical simulation of the universe is rather small: Silas R. Beane, Zohreh Davoudi and Martin J. Savage.

Their paper is titled: 'Constraints on the Universe as a Numerical Simulation', and it's from November, 2012. Others have joined the fray over this idea, however, this paper seems to have kicked it off. It's web address appears below.

The paper begins with: "Observable consequences of the hypothesis that the observed universe is a numerical simulation performed on a cubic space-time lattice or grid are explored. The simulation scenario is first motivated by extrapolating current trends in computational resource requirements for lattice QCD (quantum chromodynamics) into the future. Using the historical development of lattice gauge theory technology as a guide, we assume that our universe is an early numerical simulation with unimproved Wilson fermion discretization and investigate potentially-observable consequences." It is very interesting, mathematically.

See: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1210.1847.pdf

See: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-the-universe-made-of-math-excerpt/

See: https://ufosightingshotspot.blogspot.com/2013/11/do-we-actually-live-in-matrix.html

Standard computer models are based on a 3D grid, and sometimes the grid itself generates specific anomalies in the data. These anomalies are classified as discontinuity, non-uniformity, and irregularity.
If the universe is a vast grid, the motions and distributions of high-energy particles called cosmic rays may reveal similar anomalies— similar glitches in the Matrix—and give us a peek at the grid’s underlying structure.

However, John D. Barrow, professor of mathematical sciences at Cambridge University, suggests that if space is continuous, then there is no underlying grid that guides the direction of cosmic rays — they should come in from every direction equally. If we live in a simulation based on a lattice, however, we shouldn’t see this even distribution. If physicists do see an uneven distribution, it would be a tough result to explain if the cosmos were real. Ah, cosmic rays, the key to the puzzle.
Hartmann352
 
Jul 29, 2021
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With all information above and 'let Europe take over this area' could this mean taking time for modernization, where possible.

Also when we take into account that on-earth observatories complain of distraction due to enormous satellites launches and launching SuperBIT 'to rival the Hubble'

https://phys.org/news/2021-07-superbit-low-cost-balloon-borne-telescope-rival.html

Now matter how, space observation success is not only about leadership, it is about global cooperation.
 
Sep 6, 2021
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Actually, the initial number of physicists who published the paper on a numerical simulation of the universe is rather small: Silas R. Beane, Zohreh Davoudi and Martin J. Savage.

Their paper is titled: 'Constraints on the Universe as a Numerical Simulation', and it's from November, 2012. Others have joined the fray over this idea, however, this paper seems to have kicked it off. It's web address appears below.

The paper begins with: "Observable consequences of the hypothesis that the observed universe is a numerical simulation performed on a cubic space-time lattice or grid are explored. The simulation scenario is first motivated by extrapolating current trends in computational resource requirements for lattice QCD (quantum chromodynamics) into the future. Using the historical development of lattice gauge theory technology as a guide, we assume that our universe is an early numerical simulation with unimproved Wilson fermion discretization and investigate potentially-observable consequences." It is very interesting, mathematically.

See: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1210.1847.pdf

See: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-the-universe-made-of-math-excerpt/

See: https://ufosightingshotspot.blogspot.com/2013/11/do-we-actually-live-in-matrix.html

Standard computer models are based on a 3D grid, and sometimes the grid itself generates specific anomalies in the data. These anomalies are classified as discontinuity, non-uniformity, and irregularity.
If the universe is a vast grid, the motions and distributions of high-energy particles called cosmic rays may reveal similar anomalies— similar glitches in the Matrix—and give us a peek at the grid’s underlying structure.

However, John D. Barrow, professor of mathematical sciences at Cambridge University, suggests that if space is continuous, then there is no underlying grid that guides the direction of cosmic rays — they should come in from every direction equally. If we live in a simulation based on a lattice, however, we shouldn’t see this even distribution. If physicists do see an uneven distribution, it would be a tough result to explain if the cosmos were real. Ah, cosmic rays, the key to the puzzle.
Hartmann352
What does that matter, the number of physicist who published relativity is 1.

My point is that in light of new measurements relativity is impossible as galaxies can not move at 5 times light speed so in reality we know as much about the universe now as a neanderthal cooking a rabbit on a stick did, so one theory is as good as the next. You also know nothing as all you can know is the theory of one or more before you and literally every theory has failed to yield anything, the new theory answers why which is because computer code executes it's programming which is not gravity gased
 
Jul 29, 2021
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Exploration is a human intrinsic feature. The more detailed observations we have, the more computational power we have, the faster our theories get confirmed and refined.

The overall results of driving different aspects of exploration are scientific, technological and humanitarian development.
Though an extreme point might be an unimportance of everything.

P.S.: Even regarding Neanderthals, we have learnt more and reviewed the textbooks.
 
Sep 10, 2021
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A Hubble-type telescope is better, because ground-based ones, even at the highest points, have limitations associated with the atmosphere and others, so this solution is quite reasonable, because a lot of money goes to such massive telescopes.
 
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Sep 6, 2021
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Exploration is a human intrinsic feature. The more detailed observations we have, the more computational power we have, the faster our theories get confirmed and refined.

The overall results of driving different aspects of exploration are scientific, technological and humanitarian development.
Though an extreme point might be an unimportance of everything.

P.S.: Even regarding Neanderthals, we have learnt more and reviewed the textbooks.
Exploration with telescopes was valid, however a new image will contain nothing new, just a better image of the same old thing so a new telescope is not exploration
 
Jul 29, 2021
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Exploration with telescopes was valid, however a new image will contain nothing new, just a better image of the same old thing so a new telescope is not exploration
Exploration - is for space - Webb Telescope, for instance, is to go further and get more information.
Surveillance - is for the Earth. Gets more dedicated satellites and collaborative missions and gather more information.
 
Sep 6, 2021
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Exploration - is for space - Webb Telescope, for instance, is to go further and get more information.
Surveillance - is for the Earth. Gets more dedicated satellites and collaborative missions and gather more information.
Some physicist are claiming that the Universe is simulated not real, so the simulation includes simulated telescopes. Not my theory now, but it's out there
 
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Some physicist are claiming that the Universe is simulated not real, so the simulation includes simulated telescopes. Not my theory now, but it's out there
Simulation is not 100% true every time. It has its fundamental rules, as much as needed data and acceptable output (according to aims).
In case of the Universe, p-hacking is not applicable, for sure, we know and understand it only to some extent.
 
Sep 6, 2021
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Simulation is not 100% true every time. It has its fundamental rules, as much as needed data and acceptable output (according to aims).
In case of the Universe, p-hacking is not applicable, for sure, we know and understand it only to some extent.
Actually either you are a computer simulation existing on a hard drive or you are not. This theory is bonkers and is merely a way for atheist to find common ground and accept God as clearly the simulation if real needs a writer with untold power over us that whether you call this entity God or not is meaningless because it is the creator or God.
 
Jul 29, 2021
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One might believe what one wants.
Approximations, simulations, visualizations are the tools.One might find them useful or not according to purpose of use.
That's fair enough, if anyone is open to.
Thank you.
 
Mar 4, 2020
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We have to be very careful when looking up. Looking up is very different than looking out or looking down.

In our environment, when we witness an event, all of the objects in the view, are there in view and present at the same time. They all have the same time-stamp. And because all the objects are there at the same time, they interact with each other. This is how we concept motion. And study the interaction of motion.

But when we look up......all that changes. All the objects we see, are not there at the same time. They have different time-stamps. And can not interact with one another. BUT, our concept of motion will try to relate the objects in the same way as we do with looking out or down.

It's like seeing all the football games played on the same screen at the same time.

But a tackle made on Monday can not interact with a tackle made on Sunday. Even though, we see the tackles at the same time.

Looking up, we see an illusion.
 

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