Thirty Meter Telescope to Present 3-D Tour of the Universe at USA Science and Engineering Festival

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The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) will enable astronomers to explore the universe in unprecedented clarity when it achieves "first light" later this decade. The public, however, will get an exciting preview of what TMT will observe as part of the two-day expo for the USA Science and Engineering Festival, October 23 and 24 in Washington, D.C.

Staff and volunteers from TMT will use a high-definition projection system and innovative portable planetarium dome provided by Ansible Technologies to take visitors on a virtual tour of the cosmos from objects within our solar system out to the very edge of the known universe. Supporting this remarkable 'fly-through' technology is a massive database of planets, stars, and galaxies. All of which will be rendered in exquisite detail and accessible with simple joystick control.

The program will also include an overview of the planned Thirty Meter Telescope, how it will study the earliest stars and galaxies, explore planets orbiting distant stars, and peer into the turbulent regions surrounding supermassive black holes.

The TMT is both a sponsor and partner in the inaugural U.S. Science and Engineering Festival. The TMT's interactive exhibit will be part of the festival's grand finale, a two-day expo taking place on the National Mall and surrounding areas in Washington, D.C. TMT's exhibit will be among the displays housed in the Mellon Auditorium on Constitution Avenue adjacent to the National Mall.

When completed later this decade, the TMT will be the world's most capable and advanced ground-based telescope. The observatory is scheduled to begin on-site construction on Mauna Kea in Hawaii in 2011, and will have a full suite of scientific instruments to study objects in both visible and infrared light. The TMT also will have a cutting-edge adaptive optics system, which will take out the twinkling of starlight, enabling the telescope to see objects as clearly as if the telescope were in space.

The inaugural USA Science and Engineering Festival is the country's first national science festival. The two-day expo will include more than 1,500 science activities and is expected to draw more than 100,000 visitors.


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