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About TMT-J Project Office

TMT-J Project Office is one of many projects under the umbrella of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) (see, e.g., organizational chart of NAOJ). TMT-J Project Office aims to promote cutting edge astronomy through the construction and operation of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) by collaborating with national and international partners. Current activities include the following.

  • Liaison with TMT International Observatory (e.g., TIO board meeting)
  • Budgetary request for R&D and construction cost
  • Research toward the development of construction parts delegated to Japan
    (e.g., primary mirror, main telescope structure, instruments)
  • Development and manufacturing of early light instruments
  • Perform science case study through TMT (e.g., TIO SAC meeting, coordination of domestic science working groups)
  • Study of future instrumentation plan (e.g., coordination of Japanese instrument working groups)
  • Liaison with TIO partners
  • Public relations and public outreach activities (e.g., website, newsletter, lectures)

History

Mar. 2005 Japanese astronomers community mapped out their future plans in the report "Optical and Infrared Astronomy in the 2010's". In the report, "a 3.5m space telescope, SPICA" and "a 30m class ground-based extremely large telescope" were stated as the most urgent future plans to be promoted by the Japanese community in the 2010's.
Apr. 2005 NAOJ formed an Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) Project Office to promote the study to realize a 30m-class telescope. The project office investigated various angles in its effort to realize ELT, including the construction of Japan's Extremely Large Telescope (JELT), likelihood of participation in other ELT projects abroad and R&D issues.
2006 NAOJ evaluated the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project, initially planned by the US and Canada, as the optimum choice for Japan to realize construction and operation of a next generation extremely large telescope and a decision was made to place a particular emphasis on activities aimed at promoting TMT through international collaboration.
Oct. 2008 NAOJ director (Dr. Shoken Miyama) signed a letter of intent to participate in the TMT project.
Jul. 2009 The TMT board selected Mauna Kea as the site for TMT.
Apr. 2010 A decision was made by NAOJ to change the project name from "ELT Project Office" to "TMT Project Office", to reflect the fact that Japan's activities toward the realization of ELT were now integrated into the promotion of the TMT project.
Jul. 2013 Scientific authorities of the partners in TMT signed the Master Agreement establishing a formal agreement, amongst the international partners, defining the project goals, establishing a governance structure, and defining member party rights, obligations and benefits. NAOJ director (Dr. Masahiko Hayashi) signed the document as the TMT-J scientific authority.
Apr. 2014 Financial authorities of the partners in TMT signed agreements laying down the fundamental principles for the construction and operation of TMT and the assignment of contributions to be made by each member country, and paving the way for the TMT International Observatory to be founded as a nonprofit limited liability company in May.