Thirty Meter Telescope

Astronomy's next generation observatory.


Enclosure & Infrastructure


The TMT enclosure has several key functions. By day, it must protect observatory systems, facilitate a broad range of maintenance activities, and keep the telescope temperature near the expected night time temperature. By night, it must shield the telescope from wind buffeting while allowing enough airflow to keep the interior iso-thermal to limit seeing degradation due to air turbulence in the enclosure.

TMT has selected an innovative, structurally efficient calotte enclosure design that, by its spherical shape and circular “shutter” aperture, fulfills key functional requirements with lower mass (and hence lower cost) than possible for previous enclosure designs.

Infrastructure: Summit and Support Facilities

TMT programmatic requirements have been studied to specify the needed conventional facilities and construction sequence at the summit and at a nearby support location. Minimum excavation of the summit to support the required facility footprint and construction allowances has been defined.

The summit facility supports telescope operations, control room functions, staff summit support, mirror handling, stripping, cleaning, storage and recoating, basic engineering and technical activities and other elements of operation that must be carried out close to the telescope.

Support facilities, near the summit, include a construction camp, dormitories and dining facilities for operations staff, and workshops for maintenance and technical activities.