Welcome to the GSMT Program Office
Active ELT Projects
Currently there are three active ELT projects, all established as international partnerships. Two of these have major participation by US institutions: the Giant Magellan Telescope and the Thirty Meter Telescope. Both projects are interested in participation by the federal government on behalf of the US astronomical community. Up-to-date information on both projects, including lists of partners, detailed science cases, and descriptions of the technical concepts, can be found using the links here and those provided on the menu bar on the left. The third international project, the ESO-ELT, is under development by the European Southern Observatory and other European institutions.
The Giant Segmented Mirror Telescope Program Office (GSMTPO) will ensure broad Astronomy Community access to an extremely large telescope (ELT: aperture >20 meters) contemporary in time with ALMA and JWST, by playing a key role in scientific and technical studies leading to the creation of the Giant Segmented Mirror Telescope. GSMTPO will act as the NSF “Program Manager”, advising the NSF regarding scientific and technical progress of active ELT projects. Historical background on GSMTPO and its predecessor, NIO, can be found here.
AURA Perspectives on the GSMT: AURA documents related to GSMT activities are located on the AURA website. The last update is August 5, 2008.
GSMT Program Office Scope of Work
- As recommended by the Senior Review, promote the development of both TMT and GMT at a pace that recognizes the timescales of the MREFC and federal budget processes. NSF support may come in the form of contributions to operations and supplemental funding such as additional instrumentation or other facility enhancements.
- Understand and champion the national needs for a GSMT in any public/private partnership. This implies:
- Establishing and running a national community Science Working Group;
- Providing an independent, prioritized evaluation of the community’s desires for scientific capabilities on such a facility;
- Providing the results of these studies in a timely fashion as input to the next decadal survey. The NSF considers that a re-affirmation of GSMT’s priority is a necessary condition for commitment of construction or operations funding.
- Advise NSF regarding the technical progress of both projects.
- Assure a healthy scientific enterprise in the GSMT era. In this regard, NOAO, including GSMTPO, will lead in defining “the system”, being certain that it addresses an appropriate range of apertures, suite of instrumentation, and utilization of existing non-federal facilities where available. NOAO must assure that this system is robust against the delays and uncertainty in the path to an eventual GSMT.
Recent and on-going efforts in pursuit of these goals comprise:
- A community workshop, “Science with Giant Telescopes” held June 15-18, 2008 in Chicago. The workshop included panel discussions on topics ranging from observatory operations to instruments development, as well as presentations on science programs that could be carried out with an ELT. The workshop presentations and additional written summaries can be found by following the link.
- Separate, independent assessments of technical progress of GMT and TMT.
These assessments took place during the week of April 27 through May 2, 2009.
Both projects provided impressive presentations on their respective
progress. Final reports from the GCAR panel are planned for the early
summer. They are intended to provide information to the Astro2010 decadal survey complementary to the Astro2010 panel's own assessments, and supplementing information provided directly by GMT and TMT. This process is summarized here.
- Three relevant white papers were made available to the Astro2010 decadal
Eventually, we hope to develop documents describing prioritized GSMT science capabilities requirements (SCR). These will be developed by NOAO and the GSMT SWG, based on input from the US community. The primary sources of this input will be a survey similar in nature to the ALTAIR survey and an outline science program analogous to the ALMA Design Reference Science Program (DRSP).
- A community workshop on “Science with Adaptive Optics on Large
Telescopes”, which will be held as a "meeting within a meeting" at the
June 2009 AAS meeting in Pasadena, California. This workshop comprises
seven sessions, at which speakers will describe recent or on-going
science results from AO facilities. In addition, speakers will provide
information on currently available adaptive optics capabilities at major
facilities with large telescopes." Details of the individual sessions
can be found here.