The 2,447th Meeting of the Society

October 22, 2021 at 8:00 PM

Via Zoom Webinar

Twelve Times Hubble and Halfway to Space

The Thirty Meter Telescope

Fengchuan Liu

Project Manager
Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Project


About the Lecture

The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), is an extremely large optical-infrared telescope with diffraction-limited performance that will shape the landscape of astronomy for the next 50 years from its vantage point in the northern hemisphere.  With state-of-the-art adaptive optics, TMT will advance the frontier of science in the study of the earliest stars and galaxies, exoplanets and the search for extraterrestrial life, the growth of galaxies, extreme gravity and supermassive black holes, and the nature of dark matter and dark energy.  This lecture will discuss the technology, engineering, and challenges of building the TMT.

TMT is one of the three very large ground based optical telescope projects currently underway in the world. Two of these are US led projects: the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) and the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).  The third is a European led project – the European Extremely Large Telescope (EELT).  Because of their size, light gathering abilities and advances in adaptive optics, the light gathering ability and resolution of each of these observatories will  exceed those of the Hubble Space Telescope by very wide margins.  In addition to this lecture on the TMT, Jim Fanson presented on the GMT at PSW’s  2,436th meeting on March 5, 2020.  And the EELT will be the subject of a lecture at a meeting next year.

About the Speaker

Fengchuan Liu is the acting project manager for the Thirty Meter Telescope project.  He has had a long and distinguished career in the management and engineering of large space missions and science projects, including serving as Project Manager of the WISE, NEO-WISE and NEOCAM missions and as Deputy Project Manager of the NISAR and LTMPF missions.

Fengchuan is an author on over 40 peer reviewed journals and conference proceedings.  And he is the recipient of a NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, a NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, and of the JPL Magellan Award.

Fengchuan earned his BS in Physics at Nankai University and his PhD in Physics at the University of Washington.