AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 79 Providing Access to U.S. Astronomers for the Next Generation of Large Ground Based OIR Telescopes
Special Session, Tuesday, January 11, 2005, 10:00-11:30am, Sunrise

Previous   |   Session 79   |   Next

[79.01] Frontier Science Enabled by a Giant Segmented Mirror Telescope

R.P. Kudritzki (UH IfA; Chair, GSMT SWG)

The unique challenge of astronomy in the 21st century is to study the ``evolution of the universe in order to relate casually the physical conditions during the Big Bang to the development of RNA and DNA" (Riccardo Giacconi, 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics). A 20m to 30m telescope will provide the capability to meet this challenge. It will, for the first time, permit direct observations of hundreds of extra-solar giant planets, the disks out of which planetary systems form, the building blocks of galaxies and the process of galaxy assembly, the early evolution of chemical elements heavier than helium, and the emergence of large scale structure as mapped by galaxies and intergalactic gas during the first billion years following the Big Bang.

This paper gives a summary of the work done by the GSMT Science Working Group (SWG). In July 2002, the NSF Division of Astronomical Sciences authorized NOAO ``to establish and maintain a Science Working Group for the Giant Segmented Mirror Telescope." The primary focus of the SWG, so far, has been the discussion of the forefront astrophysical problems likely to emerge over the next decade, the science enabled by next generation telescopes, design options for such telescopes, and technologies that must be advanced or developed in order to realize viable telescopes at acceptable costs. In addition, the scientific synergy with important other large telescope projects, such as JWST and ALMA, has been discussed.

Previous   |   Session 79   |   Next

Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 5
© 2004. The American Astronomical Society.