Construction of world’s largest optical telescope approved

Set atop Mauna Kea, the Thirty Meter Telescope will be able to observe planets outside our solar system.

(Credit: Courtesy TMT Observatory Corporation)

If you love eye-popping images of space, here’s welcome news: the Hawaiian Board of Land and Natural Resources has backed building what’s to be the world’s largest, most powerful optical telescope above the clouds atop the volcano Mauna Kea.

The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) will have a primary mirror of 492 segments measuring some 100 feet across, giving it the power to image objects 13 billion light years away, near the beginning of the universe.

It may also photograph planets outside our solar system with unprecedented detail.

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