back to article Protesters stop ground breaking on world's largest telescope

Peaceful protesters successfully halted the groundbreaking ceremony for construction of the world's largest telescope for a few hours before being removed by police. Thirty Meter Telescope The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) will be the largest Earth-based telescope ever built with, as the name implies, a 30-meter reflective …

  1. aberglas

    Wow Ten times further

    > TMT will be able to see at least ten times further than any other earth-bound telescope.

    Wow. Currently we can see some 13 billion light years so the visible universe will now ten times bigger.

    > The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) will be the largest Earth-based telescope ...

    I'd love to know more about the space based telescope that is larger.

    1. MR J

      Re: Wow Ten times further

      Largest Earth-Based = Largest on Earth. He mentions nothing about space.

      It means what it says on the tin.

      Europe has a larger one planned (that will not be in Europe).

      What it does see will be up to 12 times the current resolution of Hubble. You might not call that further or farther, but now you will be able to make out things that you previously couldn't, so yes you can "see" something that is a bit more out there.

      1. dlc

        Re: Wow Ten times further

        You didn't understand the comment you're replying too. The point is, we have ALREADY seen essentially to the edge of the observable universe, about 13 billion light years away. So this news story is simply flat-out wrong. Neither this telescope, nor ANY telescope that will EVER be built in the future, will ever see any farther than we have already seen. Will not happen, cannot happen, physically impossible. What this and other new telescopes will do is see many, many more objects at that same distance, and see many things that are much fainter than we can see now. But it will never see farther.

        And the other point he was making is that the qualifier "on Earth" was unnecessary -- this telescope will be the largest ever built, period (until the bigger one gets finished in Chile, as others have pointed out).

    2. jphb

      Re: Wow Ten times further

      "Wow. Currently we can see some 13 billion light years so the visible universe will now ten times bigger."

      So we'll be able to see objects who's light started out 130 billion years ago,

      that's 116.2 billion years before the creation of the universe - should be interesting.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wow Ten times further

        "that's 116.2 billion years before the creation of the universe".

        To the best of our knowledge, for all we know, we could be in a inner universe, with another surrounding it, much further out.

      2. Trigonoceps occipitalis

        Re: Wow Ten times further

        129,999,994,000 years before the creation of the universe surely.

    3. Chris T Almighty

      Re: Wow Ten times further

      You're confusing distance with time, the observable Universe is over 90 Billion light years across, according to brainy people who do this for a living. A little Googling can a good thing before making snide comments, particularly in areas as complex as cosmology.

  2. silent_count

    Congratulations to the protesters

    For protesting peacefully. There are too many out there who think their cause, whatever it happens to be, will be served by behaving like ferals.

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Congratulations to the protesters

      I would like to echo your sentiment, however when protests turn violent it is not always at the instigation of the protestors.

    2. JP19

      Re: Congratulations to the protesters

      At 14,000 ft they wouldn't have the energy to be violent.

      With the long list of altitude sickness symptoms including 'Excessive flatulation' one wonders how the area became sacred in the first place.

      1. Caveman 2.0

        Re: Congratulations to the protesters

        Explanation: them volcanic gods had the flatulation issue, thereby making the place sacred....

  3. Rol Silver badge

    I suppose

    ..the biggest constraint is money, but surely it would be cheaper in the long run and better for all concerned to just go with a 100m dish and forego the incremental steps along the way.

    I'm waiting for CERN to start pushing for an accelerator ring around the Moon, obviously after they have built several more that have quadrupled previous constructions first.

    1. Mark #255

      Re: I suppose

      I suppose ..the biggest constraint is money,

      Engineering. And risk. (Probably)

      Remember the teething problems with the LHC at CERN? Building a 100m telescope would probably uncover a raft of issues (mechanical, metallurgical, electronic, data storage) some of which could be anticipated, others which would be unexpected, but would probably be encountered in manageable numbers with incrementally larger telescopes.

      1. Rol Silver badge

        Re: I suppose

        I appreciate scaling things up a few notches will set new standards in engineering accuracy, but surely not beyond technical ability.

        No, I really do think it comes down to justifying the cost to those stumping up the cash.

        As is the trend today, build it no bigger or better than the immediate task demands.

        Thank God the Victorians saw things differently otherwise we'd all be floating around in our own sewage.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    it is on a volcano

    Do they really expect anything in Hawaii to be permanent?

    Expensive, yes. Permanent. no.

    1. Chairo

      Re: it is on a volcano

      Hawaiian volcanism is of a different kind than the one found around the ring of fire or other continental fault lines. They are shield volcanoes, fed by a hot spot. Their magma is very hot and much less explosive than what is found in other places (Japan or Indonesia, for example). That said, Yellowstone caldera is also fed by a hot spot and it is a monster. Good old earth has a lot of nasty surprises for us, but the Hawaiian islands are probably one of the safer spots.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: it is on a volcano

        "Yellowstone caldera is also fed by a hot spot and it is a monster."

        Unlike Hawaii, the Yellowstone hotspot is pushing through a subducted ocean plate, which means it's bringing mountainloads of water and organic shit to the surface. It's those which contribute to the violence of plate boundary volcanoes.

      2. ElectricRook

        Re: it is on a volcano

        The danger of volcanoes is related to the amount of silicon in the magma. Silicon makes the magma sticky. Continental volcanoes have higher silicon content.

    2. DNTP

      Re: it is on a volcano

      Don't worry, we've got the plans for another world record size telescope to be built over Yellowstone. It will be the largest Earth-based telescope, and when Yellowstone blows, it will be the largest space based telescope. Two world records!

  5. Bloodbeastterror

    Once again...

    ...religion blocks progress.

    My parents told me about the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Father Christmas and God. My loss of faith in the first three didn't negatively impact me in any way. Nor did the fourth.

    1. Joe Gurman

      Re: Once again...

      I wouldn't put it down to religion. Shaking down the haoles who want to build telescopes on the tops of sacred mountains for cash and government support of their organizations is pretty much a Hawai'ian tradition, at least for part of the native-Polnesian population. This, of course, is after the local university ecologists have shaken them down for environmental impact studies.

    2. Psyx

      Re: Once again...

      "Once again...

      ...religion blocks progress."

      A bit like all those old Universities, which started out as religious institutions. Damn that Occam guy.

      1. Bloodbeastterror

        Re: Once again...

        Ah, but even if they were founded and run under religious doctrine/dogma, at least they were trying to expand knowledge in some way. Maybe their constraints limited and misdirected their progress, but at least they were trying.

        Nowadays, however, all we get from the fundamentalists is "No need to look for answers - we *know* where it all came from". Hence, no need for telescopes. Or science. Or thought. We can see all we need to see at the end of our noses... :-)

        1. Psyx

          Re: Once again...

          "Ah, but even if they were founded and run under religious doctrine/dogma, at least they were trying to expand knowledge in some way. "

          - Which was kind of my point. Religion has done a truck-load historically, as regards creating and fostering centres for learning. Sometimes they don't like what pops out of them, but thems the breaks!

          " all we get from the fundamentalists is 'No need to look for answers - we *know* where it all came from'. "

          - Well, yeah. That's why they're fundamentalists, rather than moderates or progressives, so that's what they do. You might as well complain that the extra mature cheddar is always very mature. Not every religious person is a fundamentalist, just as not every cheese is cheddar. Check out this ordained pair:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Peacocke

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernan_McMullin

          1. Bloodbeastterror

            Re: Once again...

            Yes, completely agree. That's why I was careful to say "fundamentalists" rather than tarring all religious people with the same brush. As long as they suffer their delusions without having any impact on me, or in trying to interfere in my life, I obviously can have no objection to their beliefs. I just wish fundamentalists felt the same way - believe as fervently as they like, just leave me out of it.

            1. Yugguy

              Re: Once again...

              "just leave me out of it."

              You brought the subject up, son.

              1. Bloodbeastterror

                Re: Once again...

                Well, actually, it was the protesters who brought it up, no...? :-)

            2. Psyx

              Re: Once again...

              "believe as fervently as they like, just leave me out of it."

              Many are happy to. However, it falls apart a little in the case where their doctrine tells them it's their job to actively convert/murder/dictate to unbelievers. ie: None of us would give a toss about what the Witnesses did if they didn't bang on our doors.

              The one we can't blame religion for is where the faithful take it upon themselves to interfere with others, regardless of what their dogma says (say in the example of Christians protesting against gay marriage).

              That's not the fault of religion.

              That's the fault of ar$ehole humans.

        2. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: Once again...

          ...but at least they were trying

          Talk about damning by faint praise!

      2. cortland

        Re: Once again...

        Occam and Darwin did conspire

        To make James Usher out a liar.

        1. Bloodbeastterror

          Re: Once again...

          @cortland Does the downvoter even know who any of those three is...? :-)

          1. Uffish

            Re: the cortland three

            Well, to be realistic, James Usher is a bit of an esoteric.

      3. HildyJ

        Re: Once again...

        Religious believers have contributed to scientific progress but religious institutions, including educational ones, at best do not impede them.

        Mythological religions, whether based on Ra or Zeus, Yahweh or Allah, or even the Thetans, have a vested interest in stopping science from proving their myths wrong. Believing that the Star Wars mythos was transmitted to George Lucas across space and time (given, of course, that Jar-Jar was a transmission error) is more benign, makes as much sense, and is just as falsifiable. Plus there's no church of Yoda prohibiting you from questioning whether Han shot first.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ Bloodbeastterror

      You really believed in a Tooth Fairy? Yikes. But the article says they didn't block progress. Vested interests, NIMBYs, cretinous politicians, short term gainers, and general, stupid, human indifference often do block progress though.

  6. twelvebore

    Ugh. Nuanced PR spin.

    Europe has *already* started construction of a larger telescope (E-ELT, with a 39m primary mirror). That is scheduled to start operating in 2024.

    So it's a case of choosing words very carefully - "world's largest telescope when it starts operating in 2022". Better than "construction of the world's second largest telescope delayed - again" I suppose.

    I hate PR.

  7. Red Bren
    Mushroom

    Religion or Extortion

    Mauna Kea is already host to 13 big telescopes and they are listed as a tourist attraction!

    An article written around the time that the Sub-millimeter Array was built in 2002 calls into question how sincere the spiritual grounds for these protests are, when some of the protesters demands are financial. There may be a legitimate argument for renegotiating a monetary settlement, but playing the religious card undermines it. After all, why do gods need money? If they didn't like telescopes being built on an active volcano, wouldn't they have done something (see icon) about it?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Religion or Extortion

      Building this has caused a few others to shut. The keck interferometer mode is gone because the operators couldn't get an agreement with the protestors that the small outlier telescopes needed to fill in the background weren't part of the main telescope - they had to count as separate telescopes and so went over the maximum number allowed with the agreement with the local god.

      The site in Chile for the ELT is way better and doesn't involve anything like the same issues, but it doesn't attract the same pork barrelling that building in the US gets.

    2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

      Re: Religion or Extortion

      Maybe they are Yen Buddhists, the ones who recognise that money is the root of all evil, and so want to save us all from its seductive effects by selflessly hoarding as much of it as possible, at great personal risk to their own salvation.

      Doffs hat to Terry Pratchett

  8. Sporkinum
  9. Garry Perez

    What would be the resolution of this telescope? (Preferably in elReg units)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Drunks and layabouts

    Being on welfare allows for a lot of time to complain about haoles and progress.

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