February 2012: Segments Newsletter - Thirty Meter Telescope


February 2012: Segments Newsletter - Thirty Meter Telescope







A write up of the recent APEC Conference

and SEE-IT Exposition in Honolulu, Hawaii




The exciting potential of one of the first-light

instruments planned for the TMT, is the

Infra-Red Multi-object Spectrograph (IRMS)



TMT permit hearings concluded; TMT’s Sandra

Dawson, Masanori Iye, and Jerry Nelson

honored; a summary of the recent APEC summit

in Honolulu




TMT’s Chinese collaborators and their progress

with the Laser Guide Star Facility (LGSF)



The Corona Australis region (containing, at its

heart, the Coronet cluster) is one of the

nearest and most active regions of ongoing

star formation. The Spitzer image shows

young stars plus diffuse emission from dust.

Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Spitzer Space


Cover image: A composite image of the Aquila

Rift shows the extended filamentary structure

of this star-forming cloud.

Courtesy of ESA/Herschel/SPIRE/PACS/

Ph. André (CEA Saclay) for the ‘Gould’s Belt

survey’ Key Programme Consortium




1111 South Arroyo Parkway, Suite 200

Pasadena, California 91105


626 395 1602 telephone



News of the TMT Observatory Corporation

© 2012 TMT Observatory Corporation

Managing Editor

Gordon K. Squires

Communications/Media Relations Lead

Contributing Writers

Gary Sanders

TMT Project Manager

Bahram Mobasher

University of California, Riverside

Corinne Boyer

TMT Observatory Corporation

Design & Production

Sandbox Studio

Chicago, Illinois

TMT Partner Institutions

Association of Canadian Universities

for Research in Astronomy

California Institute of Technology

Department of Science and Technology

of India

National Astronomical Observatories

of the Chinese Academy of Sciences

National Astronomical Observatory

of Japan

University of California




This past November, the Asia Pacific

Economic Cooperation (APEC)

meeting, which brought together 21

governments, took place in Honolulu,

Hawaii. Befitting TMT’s strong partner-

ships throughout Asia and its central

Pacific position in Manua Kea, TMT

was happy to be a part of this important

event. Asia is home to many

blossoming economies and those of

us on the opposite Pacific shore are

turning our attention and building

stronger relations.

TMT, along with other science and

technology bellwethers, participated

in the SEE-IT Hawaii Science and Engi-

neering Exposition at the Honolulu

Convention Center. Along with TMT, the

University of Hawaii Institute for

Astronomy and the W.M. Keck Obser-

vatory were among the many exhibitors.

The SEE-IT Exposition took place

in the same venue where delegations

from the APEC meeting were gathering

and conferencing. Heads of state

from a number of Asia-Pacific countries

were in town during week of Novem-

ber 8–14, and press and trade group

delegations were also in attendance.

A number of media representatives

and trade groups took the opportunity

to tour the observatories of Mauna Kea,

future site of TMT.

Overall, it was an exciting week of

media coverage, tight security, and

foreign delegations parading through

the convention center. Highlights

included a visit from the Governor

of Hawaii, Neil Abercrombie; Institute

of Astronomy Director, Gunther

Hasinger; and Subaru Director Hideki

Takami, who represents TMT’s

Japanese partnership.

Topping off an exciting week, with

heads of state and finance ministers

going about their business, was a

Gary Sanders, TMT Project Manager

reception held by Governor Abercrombie

at Honolulu’s Washington Place

for TMT’s partners including China,

Japan, India, Canada, California

Institute of Technology and the Univer-

sity of California. Notable guests

included United States Senator Daniel

Inouye; Congresswoman Mazie Hirono;

University of Hawaii President MRC

Greenwood; University of California

President Mark Yudof; University of

California Santa Barbara Chancellor

Henry Yang (TMT Board Chair); California

Institute of Technology President

Jean Lou Chameau; University

of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy

Director Gunther Hasinger; National

Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Director General Dr. Shoken Miyama;

University of Hawaii Hilo Chancellor

Don Straney; TMT board members,

Dr. Raymond Carlberg, Canada; A.N.

Ramaprakash, India; Dr. Masanori Iye

and Dr. Hideki Takami, Japan; Dr.

Mike Bolte, UC; Dr. Ed Stone and Dr.

Richard Ellis, Caltech. Also present

were representatives from the Gordon

and Betty Moore Foundation. Local

Hawaii Island guests included Roberta

Chu, Barry Taniguchi, Herring Kalua,

Richard Ha and Greg Chun with Hawaii

Island, University of Hawaii Board of

Regents Barry Mizuno and Carl Carlson

in attendance as well.

In Senator Inouye’s remarks, he

stressed the importance of astronomy

to the state and the people of Hawaii,

but more importantly, those of us in

astronomy appreciate how important

Hawaii is to astronomy!

Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie at the TMT

APEC Exhibit

Credit: TMT Observatory Corporation

US Senator Daniel Inouye addresses attendants

of the TMT reception, held at Washington

Place, the official residence of the Governor

of Hawaii.

Credit: TMT Observatory Corporation




By Bahram Mobasher

The author would also like to acknowledge help-

ful discussions with Don Figer and Brian Siana.


Figer, D. 1995 ApJ. 447, , 29

Figer, D. et al 1999 Ap.J 525, 750

Kim, S. et al 2006 ApJ 653, 113

Mannucci, F. et al 2010 MNRAS

astro-ph 1005.0006

Serabyn, E. et al 1998 Nature 394, 448

Stolte et al 2005 ApJ 628, L113


With the commissioning of the Thirty Meter

Telescope (TMT) later this decade, a new era

in observational astronomy will begin.

Among the first-light instruments planned for the TMT, is the Infra-Red Multi-object

Spectrograph (IRMS), which would enable detail study of the nature and

properties of the faintest objects in our Universe. The IRMS will be placed behind

an Adaptive Optics system on TMT and will provide much sharper images with

higher sensitivity over 2 arcmin diameter field-of-view (FoV). The combination

of the multiplexing capability of the IRMS, its sensitivity and TMT aperture,

provides a unique opportunity to address the most fundamental questions in


Understanding properties of massive star clusters is essential in addressing

a range of questions from establishing local distance scale and studying star

formation activity, to the early Universe where the first generation of stars were

formed and contributed to the re-ionization process. They control the dynamical

and chemical evolution of their local environment through their effect on the inter-

stellar medium, dominate early evolution of the first galaxies and are likely

progenitors of the most energetic processes in the Universe, the Gamma Ray

Bursts. The most massive of these objects end their lives as supernovae,

producing the heavy elements that build the elements for formation of planets

and eventually, life. These star clusters are expected to be in Galactic disks,

where detailed observations are difficult due to high extinction and limited spatial

Left image: A cluster brimming with millions of stars glistens like an iridescent opal in this image

from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Spitzer Space Telescope

Figure 1. The Arches cluster images, as seen in increasing resolution from left-to-right: Lick

3m (Figer 1995), Keck (Serabyn et al 1998), HST (Figer et al 1999), VLT (Stolte et al 2005) and

Keck/LGSAO (Kim et al 2006), (Figure provided by D. Figer, private communication).

and spectral resolution available (Figure 1). The combination of IRMS and TMT

will be a powerful tool for discovering new massive star clusters in our Galaxy.

With only a few minutes of exposure time, we can easily verify the presence of

massive stars down to a mass of ~10 Msun, within 8 kpc from the center of

the star clusters. This allows measurement of the stellar content, age, mass and

metallicity of a currently unidentified population of massive clusters in the Galaxy.

One outstanding question in observational cosmology is the evolution of star

formation, metallicity and stellar mass in galaxies with cosmic time. Star

formation in galaxies builds up their stellar mass and enriches their metal content.

Therefore, these parameters are inter-related. Figure 2 shows changes in

metallicity with star formation for galaxies in different mass intervals, taken from

the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). A clear trend exists for nearby galaxies in

that, galaxies with lower star formation rate (SFR) have higher stellar mass and

higher metallicities. The trend appears to continue to z~2, although with larger

scatter (Figure 2). However, there is very little overlap between the low- and

high-redshift galaxies, with high-redshift objects only sampling the high SFR

and high mass end of the distribution. It is not clear how the mass-metallicity

relation behaves for low star forming and low mass galaxies at high redshifts

(where the bulk of star formation activity is taking place). Furthermore, there are

some indications for evolution in the mass-metallicity-SFR relation beyond z~3,

but there are only a handful of sources with available data at that redshift. The

TMT aperture, combined with the sensitivity, wavelength coverage and multiplexing

capability of the IRMS allows, via measurement of the [OII], [OIII], and

H-beta line fluxes, a determination of the oxygen abundances in galaxies up

to z~3.8. This also enables study of the metallicity-mass-SFR relation for low

star-forming/low mass galaxies at high-redshifts.

Over the last decade, a large number of discoveries were made by complementary

observations between the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and ground-based

Keck telescopes. Similarly, the combined capabilities of the James Webb Space

Telescope (JWST) and the TMT/IRMS could provide exceptional opportunity for

discovery. Compared to the JWST, the TMT will provide ~25 times larger light

collecting area. Furthermore, the relatively small field of view of the IRMS with

adaptive optics, limits the contamination by sky background when long exposures

are taken. This makes the TMT/IRMS an ideal instrument for high S/N ratio

follow-up spectroscopy of high redshift candidates found by JWST. Many of

these sources have Lyman-alpha emission lines. Figure 3 shows the simulated

image of a nearby merging system, shifted to z=5 and 12, as expected to be seen

at 3.8 microns by JWST. Follow-up high spatial resolution spectroscopy with IRMS

of such merging systems allows study of the nature of individual components

(i.e. by searching for He 1640 lines), which would grow to form larger and more

massive galaxies we observe today. The IRMS will enable measurement of

velocity dispersions of UV lines in both absorption and emission, probing gas

infall/outflow and winds in multi-component systems at z>4. This will reveal

the nature of the first generation of galaxies.







-2 -1 0

log (SFR)

1 2

Figure 2: Metallicity-SFR relation in stellar

mass bins. The small points (open boxes) are

low-z galaxies from the SDSS. Lines are the fits

to these data. The filled circles are high-z

galaxies in the same mass bin, with their red-

shifts labeled (the figure is from Mannucci et

al 2010).

z=0.01 z=5.0 z=12.0

Figure 3. Left: real WFC2 image showing

mergers of U6471 and U6472 at z=0.01.

Middle: simulated image showing how this

system would look like with JWST at 1.76

micron at z=5.0. Right: simulated JWST image

of the galaxy at 3.81 micron at z=12.0



TMT Permit Challenge Hearings


The TMT Hawaii Conservation District

Use Permit contested case hearings

were completed on September 30, 2011.

Project Manager Gary Sanders and

TMT Board Member and astronomer

Mike Bolte were among the witnesses

who provided written and oral testimony

during the seven days of hearings over

a six-week period. It ended with closing

arguments from the University of

Hawaii legal team and from the six

parties who have petitioned for revocation

of the permit.

All parties have provided their

Statement of Fact and Conclusions of

Law, and the Hearing Officer will review

these and provide his recommendations

to the State of Hawaii Bureau of

Land and National Resources (BLNR).

The BLNR will take up the recommendations

at a public meeting, likely

to be early in 2012.

TMT Scientists Honored

On December 19, 2011 the Franklin

Institute announced that TMT Project

Scientist Jerry Nelson will be awarded

the 2012 Franklin Institute Award in

Electrical Engineering. Some of the

most influential names in science and

technology over the two centuries

have been Franklin Institute Award

laureates. The list includes Albert

Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell,

Jacques Cousteau, Marie and Pierre

Curie, Thomas Edison, Bill Gates,

Jane Goodall, Orville Wright, Stephen

Hawking, and Francis Crick and James

Watson. Many awardees have also

been recipients of the Nobel Prize.

Nelson, along with other winners,

will travel to Philadelphia in April

2012 for a weeklong series of events

and activities aimed at familiarizing


students and the community with

the laureates’ remarkable accomplishments.

Masanori Iye, the director of the

TMT project office at the National

Astronomical Observatory of Japan

(NAOJ), received two accolades

recently. He was been awarded the

prestigious 2010 Toray Science and

Technology Prize. The prize recipients

were announced in 2010, but the

earthquake and tsunami disaster that

struck Japan in March 2011 postponed

the ceremony.

On November 15, 2011, Dr. Masanori

Iye was honored again with the Medal

with Purple Ribbon. This honor was

given to him not only for his excellence

in leading cutting-edge research in

astronomy but also for his numerous

contributions to the academic world

during his lengthy career.

High School Robotics Team

Honors TMT’s Sandra Dawson

The Waiakea High School robotics club

has honored Sandra Dawson, the

Thirty Meter Telescope Manager for

Hawaii Community Relations, by

giving her a medal that the team had

won in a recent robotics contest.

Waiakea was awarded the Engi-

neering Inspiration Award at the FIRST

(For the Inspiration and Recognition

of Science and Technology) regional

contest held in Oahu in March 2011

for the team’s community outreach

and success.

In turn, Waiakea thought it

appropriate to pass the medal on to

Dawson, who has coordinated TMT’s

funding for Waiakea’s robotics program,

as well as other student robotics clubs

on the Big Island.

The award was bestowed upon

Dawson at an April 2011 TMT mahalo

reception for Hawaii Island supporters.

Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation

Meeting, Honolulu 2011 and TMT

As an emerging partnership of Asia

Pacific teams in India, China, Japan,

Canada and California, TMT participated

in the events surrounding the

Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation

Meeting in Honolulu, November

7-13, 2011.

The photo above shows some of

the members of the TMT international

collaboration including Suijian

Xue of the National Astronomical

Observatory of China, Nick Kaiser (our

neighbor from the Institute of Astronomy

exhibit), Sandra Dawson, Ray

Carlberg representing the Association

of Canadian Universities for Research

in Astronomy (ACURA), TMT Project

Manager Gary Sanders, Director

Michael Bolte of the University of

California Observatories, Mrs. Dilling

Yang, Mrs. Judy Yudoff , University of

California President Mark Yudoff, and

TMT Board Chair and University of

California Santa Barbara Chancellor

Henry Yang.

Before APEC, TMT also presented

to three Chinese media groups. TMT

had an exhibit at the Hawaii Convention

Center during the summit meetings.

Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie

also recognized TMT and astronomy

in Hawaii at a reception held parallel

to APEC. US Senator Daniel Inouye

addressed the reception and reiterated

his support for TMT.

Photos courtesy of the Franklin Insititute and TMT

Observatory Corporation




Corrine Boyer, TMT Observatory Corporation

During the last twelve months, TMT collaborators in China have made significant

progress on the design of the Laser Guide Star Facility (LGSF) for TMT. Carried

out by Dr. Kai Wei and his team, the Institute of Optics and Electronics (IOE) in

Chengdu (China) has taken the lead for the design of the beam transfer optics

and laser launch telescope sub-system. They recently updated the conceptual

design originally developed by the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO)

to adapt for changes in the telescope design and to include new requirements.

The updated conceptual design was successfully reviewed on June 22, 2011

in Beijing by a group of experts from other observatories including Maxime Boccas

(Gemini), Jason Chin (Keck) and Scott Roberts (HIA).

Another very important activity, carried out by TMT colleagues in China at

the Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry (TIPC) in Beijing, is the design,

development and test of a 20W prototype sodium laser for TMT. The team at

TIPC led by Dr. Yong Bo has refurbished their bench prototype into a field prototype

that was tested on-the-sky during the spring of 2011 at the 1.8m telescope in

Yunnan in collaboration with IOE.

A review of the TIPC work was organized after the IOE review on June 23–24,

2011 in Beijing. The review committee was composed of a group of renowned

laser experts from the US and other observatories including: Roger Falcone

(ALS), Roger Barty (LLNL) and Jason Chin (Keck). The laser prototype was

brought back from Yunnan for display and operation at the review requiring a

non-stop 3000 kilometer five day road trip.

What is the Laser Guide Star Facility?

The LGSF is the system that generates and projects onto the sky the laser

guide star (or artificial guide star) constellations needed by first light and future

generations of Adaptive Optics (AO) systems (See the Project Manager’s Corner:

Making Your Own Stars in the March 2011 issue of Segments). The TMT first

light AO system will use a constellation of six laser guide stars, which in combination

with multiple deformable mirrors will enable full diffraction-limited

imaging in the near infrared over a large field of view.

The LGSF consists of three main systems: the laser system that generates

the sodium laser beams, composed of six 20 to 25W sodium lasers; the beam

transfer optics and laser launch telescope system, which transports the laser

beams using mirrors and relay lenses and then projects the laser beams from

a laser launch telescope located behind the TMT secondary mirror; and the laser

safety system, which ensures the lasers are operated safely.

The Institute of Optics and Electronics has recently supported the development

and operations of a laser guide star system for the GaoMeigu 1.8m telescope

located in the province of Yunnan (China).

Work is continuing now at IOE and TIPC, with more design and prototyping efforts

scheduled for the next 12 months. China is taking a leadership role in the design,

and development of the TMT LGSF.

Photo: From left to right: Junwei Zuo

(TIPC), Yong Bo (TIPC), Shiyong Xie (TIPC),

Lianqi Wang (TMT), Brent Ellerbroek

(TMT), Roger Falcone (ALS), Corinne Boyer

(TMT), Chris Barty (LLNL-NIF), Gary

Sanders (TMT), Suijian Xue (NAOC), Kai

Wei (IOE) and Jason Chin (Keck), Laser

Guide Star Reviews in Beijing June 22 to

24, 2011.

Science Case for TMT:

Star and Planet-Forming Regions

500–10,000 light-years

The spatial resolution and sensitivity of

TMT will allow individual stars to be

resolved even in very crowded fields. In

the nearest star-forming regions, mid-IR

observations will unveil heavily obscured

stars within the densest molecular clouds.

This will provide details of the ‘stellar

birthline’ in very young clusters and

enable studies of the interstellar magnetic

field. TMT will also have the spatial

resolution to probe the morphologies of

protostellar cores as well as highly

collimated jets launched from the inner

disk. At 10 µm, TMT will be able to provide

images of nearby cores and jets at a

resolution of 1.5 AU. At Orion, the equiv-

alent resolution will be ~4.5 AU.

The inner regions of protoplanetary disks

are particularly interesting since these

are the regions where most planets may

form. TMT will be able probe the gaps in

protoplanetary disks, revealing the for-

mation of giant planets.



Infra-Red Multi-object Spectrograph

on the Thirty Meter Telescope:

Technical Case

One of the three first light instruments

on the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT)

will be the Near-Infrared Multi-object

Spectrograph (IRMS). This is a clone

of the MOSFIRE instrument, to be

commissioned on the Keck telescope

in 2012. As a result, to develop the

IRMS, we use the already available

MOSFIRE design and expertise,

significantly reducing the total cost

Want to learn more?


USA Science & Engineering Festival

April 28–29, 2012

Washington, D.C.

The world’s largest celebration of science and engineering,

the USA Science & Engineering Festival, has announced

its return to Washington, D.C., April 28–29, 2012, and TMT

will once again be a sponsor and exhibitor. Adam Savage

and Jamie Hyneman, hosts of the Discovery Channel’s hit

TV series MythBusters, and Bill Nye the Science Guy are

among the science superstars signed up to join the Festival

Expo at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and

other key locations in the greater District of Columbia area.

The 2012 Festival will include a new book fair and career

pavilion as part of the Finale Expo.

and its development time. The IRMS

will be a quasi-diffraction limited

multi-slit spectrograph with moderate

resolution (R~4000), fed by

Narrow-Field Infrared Adaptive Optics

System (NFIRAOS). It images over

the 2 arcmin diameter field of view

of the NFIRAOS.

The IRMS spans the wavelength

range 0.97-2.45 microns (YJHK bands)

and has a field of view 2.27 arcmin dia-

meter with a pixel size of 0.06 arcsec/

pixel. It has multiplexing capability with

46 movable cryogenic masking bars,

each 2.43 arcsec long on sky. It has a

resolution of R=3270 (3 pixels; 0.24

arcsec wide) or 4660 (2 pixels; 0.16

arcsec wide) and could image the entire

NFIRAOS field-of-view with 60 mas

sampling. We have developed a simu-

lator for estimating the IRMS sensitivity

on the TMT and, based on that, have

performed detailed comparison of the

American Astronomical Society

June 10–14, 2012

Anchorage, AK

sensitivities of the IRMS/TMT, IRIS/


There are a number of exceedingly

important scientific questions waiting

to be addressed by the TMT/IRMS

combination. Given its relatively small

field of view, IRMS is less affected

by the sky background, which is a

limiting factor in ground-based obser-

vations at near-IR wavelengths. It is

therefore, the ideal instrument for

faint object spectroscopy on nearby

or high-z galaxies, for sources with

a number density of approximately

10 sources per arcmin and spectroscopy

requiring low sky background

and high spatial resolution.

By Bahram Mobasher, Physics and

Astronomy Department, University of

California, Riverside

Find us on the web at: www.tmt.org

Find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/TMTHawaii) and on Twitter (www.twitter.com/TMTHawaii).

Join TMT for the 220th AAS meeting in Anchorage, Alaska,

June 10–14, 2012. Although there will be 19 hours+ of

daylight in the “land of the midnight sun” during the AAS,

TMT will have our “dome” open. Find out the latest news

at the TMT exhibit, and enjoy almost endless daylight with

members from the TMT international collaboration from

the US, Canada, India, Japan and China.

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