Thirty meter telescope project likely shifting to Canary Islands instead of Hawaii

One of the world’s biggest telescope projects might be forced to move its location to a different continent. The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) was due to be built in Hawaii, but ran into opposition with indigenous groups which consider its proposed site sacred.

Now the TMT’s board says a site in the Canary Islands, Spain, could act as a potential alternative.

The $1.4bn project will enable experts to study the early Universe and peer into the atmospheres of exoplanets.

It is one of several planned big new telescopes – along with the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT) and space-based James Webb telescope – intended to serve astronomy into the 2020s and beyond.

There is opposition to the 30 meter scope being built onto Mount Kea because of religious and environmental reasons.

After careful deliberation, the board of governors for the 30 meter scope project have identified Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (ORM) on La Palma in the Canary Islands, Spain, as the primary alternative to Hawaii.