Telescopes are time machines: The farther they peer into the cosmos the further back in time they see.
Over the past 100 years telescopes have traveled further back in time each decade until, with the advent of the superscopes and space telescopes, astronomers have been able to capture remarkable images of the early universe as it existed just days after the big bang—the explosion that is though to have given birth to the current universe from the theoretical “cosmic egg.”
Now the University of Hawaii-Hilo has gotten the thumbs up to begin the construction of a $1.3 billion Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on the peak of the Mauna Kea volcano on the big island of Hawaii. The TMT’s ultimate objective: To literally view the beginning of time.
Last hurdle overcome
The last hurdle between the university’s superscope project and their ambitious objective has been surmounted. The website sciencerecorder.com, reports that the Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources has granted a permit to the University to construct the gigantic eye-on-the-sky—said to become one of the biggest future telescopes in the world.
To capture the light of the big bang is a feat that requires a huge leap backwards in time. To accomplish that, the TMT is designed to capture light created 13 billion years in the past. The mammoth scope will peer into the universe using both optical and infrared sensors. According to the university, the telescope will also be tasked to search for extrasolar planets and seek out target stars and star systems in their earliest years after formation.
“TMT intends to begin preparing the ground for construction on Mauna Kea before the end of the year. The construction start date is slated for April, 2014,” reports sciencerecoder.com
Pacific Business News quoted Jerry Chang, the university’s director of relations, as saying: “It’s a billion-dollar project. It’s going to affect businesses, bring in a lot of grant money, researchers and astronomers.”
Beyond the big bang
Over the past several years, evidence has emerged that the universe may be imprinted over an earlier universe that existed before the formation of the cosmic egg that led to the creation of what is now known. Other evidence has also emerged from studies of the properties of the Higgs boson particle (also called the “God particle”), that this universe is unstable and eventually will create another cosmic egg that will propagate destructive energy wiping out everything in its path before creating yet another universe, supplanting the one that exists now.
As telescopes become more powerful more evidence may be gleaned form actual observation that will lend greater support to the concept that each universe dies and their death throes give birth to a new universe that replaces the old.
Only time, and the ongoing investigation into the past, will tell.