TMT Primary Mirrors Enter Production Phase

The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) has entered into a contract with Coherent Inc., a provider of lasers and laser-based technology, to polish its U.S. manufactured primary mirrors, marking a major production milestone.

The metrology device used in the polishing process of Roundel production, Coherent’s Two Dimensional Profilometer (2DP), is shown above in a special-use case where it is validating the active warping of the Polished Mirror Assembly (PMA). PC: TMT International Observatory

TMT, with its thirty-meter diameter primary mirror and a collecting area greater than all other optical telescopes on Maunakea combined, is the largest optical/near-infrared telescope planned for the Northern Hemisphere.

Under the terms of the contract, Coherent will precisely contour and polish the optical surfaces of 230 mirror segments to the accuracy of less than 1/50th of the width of a human hair. The remaining segments, including spare segments, are being provided by TMT’s international partners Japan, China and India.

Coherent will use a unique “Stressed Mirror Polishing” (SMP) technique, a process refined jointly with TMT, for the production of the polished mirror segments. The Stressed Mirror Polishing uses specially designed fixtures that apply precise forces to the mirrors during their fabrication. The Ohara ClearCeram blank is warped into an aspheric shape, then accurately polished into a smooth spherical surface using a conventional polishing technique. The forces are released after polishing, and the mirror relaxes into the desired aspheric shape.

SMP methodology was originally developed for the construction of the Keck telescope primary mirror, led by the late TMT Project Scientist, Jerry Nelson. This process both reduces the cost of polishing and improves the smoothness of the resulting optical surfaces. Nelson’s revolutionary concept of segmented mirrors replacing a single large collecting aperture has been used worldwide for several large telescopes that cannot be created using a single optical element, including the James Webb Space Telescope.

Name of Mauna Kea Changed to “Maunakea”

From the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy:

Why have we changed the spelling of Mauna Kea to Maunakea? While the name Mauna Kea (white mountain) is simply descriptive, “Maunakea” is a name that in Native Hawaiian tradition is short for “Mauna a Wākea,” the mountain of Wākea, one of the progenitors of the Hawaiian people. Maunakea is believed to connect the land to the heavens.

By Vadim Kurland – originally posted to Flickr as IMG_2673.JPG, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10580597

The UH Hilo School of Hawaiian Language recommends the one-word spelling, and recently the Office of Maunakea Management started using the one-word spelling (but their abbreviation remains OMKM). According to Stephanie Nagata, director of OMKM, the name Maunakea has been accepted by the official Hawai‘i Board on Geographic Names, and the federal government has also accepted the name change, so new maps will now use the one-word name.

Resolution Affirming Collaborative Stewardship of Maunakea Considered by Board of Regents

The University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents is considering a resolution at the August 24 meeting that affirms UH‘s commitment to the collaborative stewardship of Maunakea’s cultural, natural, educational and scientific resources. The proposed resolution also directs the university to move forward to build a global model of harmonious and inspirational stewardship that integrates traditional indigenous knowledge and modern science.

The proposed resolution commits the university to work with the state, County of Hawaiʻi, Native Hawaiian organizations and the community to achieve this aim, and also directs the university to increase the engagement of Native Hawaiian students, Hawaiʻi Island residents, and residents of the State of Hawaiʻi in the areas of astronomy, celestial navigation and exploration through an active educational and outreach program that highlights indigenous knowledge as well as enhanced student access to and utilization of Maunakea-based astronomical resources.

The resolution will also affirm the university’s commitment to return approximately 10,000 acres of land not utilized for astronomy to the jurisdiction of the state and the pursuit of a new lease or land tenure to secure the continued viability of astronomy in Hawaiʻi.

Resolution Affirming Commitment to the Collaborative Stewardship of Maunakea’s Cultural, Natural, Educational and Scientific Resources

WHEREAS, the Board of Regents believes that Maunakea can and should be a global model that provides inspiration, harmony and peaceful co-existence among culture, education, the environment and scientific discovery; and

WHEREAS, the Board of Regents for the University of Hawaiʻi embraced the university’s commitment to its responsibilities to Maunakea beginning with the adoption of the Maunakea Science Reserve Master Plan in 2000, the Maunakea Comprehensive Master Plan, Cultural Resources Management and Natural Resources Management Plans in 2009, and the Public Access and Decommissioning Plans in 2010; and

WHEREAS, the board and the university administration also aspire for the university to become a model indigenous-serving university and have committed to principles of sustainability across its mission; and

WHEREAS, the board now hereby affirms the commitment of the university to fulfill its obligations under the plans that have been approved, as well as its broader commitment to the community at large; and

WHEREAS, the board wishes to additionally acknowledge the dedicated work and commitment of the Office of Maunakea Management, the Maunakea Management Board, and the Native Hawaiian Kahu Kū Mauna Council, on behalf of the University of Hawaiʻi and the Board of Regents; and

WHEREAS, subsequent to the adoption of the various plans, and with the understanding that collaborative stewardship will continue to be prioritized on all Maunakea lands, the university has now agreed to return approximately 10,000 acres of land on Maunakea that it currently leases that is not used for astronomy, to the State of Hawaiʻi; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the university take the steps that are necessary to expedite the return of the 10,000 acres to the State of Hawaiʻi in a timely manner and pursue a new lease or land tenure for the reduced acreage that will support the continued viability of astronomical research and education in the State; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the university work with the State, County of Hawaiʻi, Native Hawaiian organizations, and the broader community to evolve collaborative and coherent management and stewardship plans that are consistent with the Comprehensive Management Plan, and that are supported by appropriate administrative rules; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the university make it a priority, including through additional financial support, to meaningfully increase the engagement of Native Hawaiian students, Hawaiʻi Island residents, and residents of the State of Hawaiʻi in the areas of astronomy, celestial navigation and exploration; and that such initiatives include an active educational and outreach program that highlights indigenous knowledge as well as enhanced student access to and utilization of Maunakea-based astronomical resources in the field; and

The Board of Regents, through this Resolution, hereby affirms its commitment to the collaborative stewardship of Maunakea’s cultural, natural, educational and scientific resources, and directs the university to move forward to collaboratively build a global model of harmonious and inspirational stewardship that is befitting of Maunakea.