Who We Are

TMT is a non-profit collaboration between the University of California, the California Institute of Technology, the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the countries of Canada, India, and Japan. Sited at Maunakea, the TMT would solidify the position of Hawaii as a World leader in research in astronomy and astrophysics.

A History of Engagement

  • 10+ years of community discussions on Hawaii Island and throughout the state.
  • A design based on community input and a keen understanding of the natural and cultural history of Maunakea and of the concerns over the past management of the mountain.
  • Consultation and collaboration with the Hawaiian community to address a range of cultural, environmental, educational and economic issues.

A Model of Sustainable Astronomy

  • TMT will be located 500 feet below the summit.
  • TMT’s site has no archaeological shrines or features, no endangered plants, no endangered insects and no burials.
  • TMT is not visible from any of the places that people consider the most sacred on the mountain.
  • TMT will use a special reflective aluminum-like coating to reflect the ambient environment and reduce the visibility of the structure.
  • TMT will be visible from just 14 percent of Hawaii Island.
  • TMT will not impact the aquifer.
  • TMT will leave no waste on the mountain.
  • TMT is highly energy efficient and will receive its electricity from the electrical grid.
  • TMT will not prevent traditional and customary native Hawaiian practices.
  • TMT will be accessible to everyone on Maunakea.
  • TMT will pay $1 million in annual lease rent; 80 percent will go to the Office of Maunakea Management for stewardship of the mountain and 20 percent will go to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
  • TMT will make an annual contribution of $1 million to The Hawaii Island New Knowledge (THINK) Fund to better prepare Hawaii Island students to master STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and to become the workforce for higher paying science and technology jobs.
  • TMT will form and sustain a $1 million a year Workforce Pipeline Program that will lead to a highly qualified pool of local workers.

Why People Support Us

TMT is supported by people of all ethnic groups, including native Hawaiians.

Their reasons include:

  • TMT’s commitment to better the future for Hawaii Island’s children through the THINK Fund and Workforce Pipeline Program.
  • TMT’s commitment to a new paradigm of astronomy on Maunakea, founded on integrating culture, science, sustainability and education.
  • TMT went through a lengthy process that was approved by the Court and by the State.
  • TMT has the legal right to begin construction on Maunakea.

How Hawaii Benefits from TMT

Here are just some of the ways TMT positively impacts the Hawaii community:

  • Young People’s Education – TMT is committed to contributing to the future of Hawaii’s children through its THINK Fund and Workforce Pipeline Program.
  • Economy – TMT will bring several hundred million dollars in construction revenue for Hawaii-based companies. The project will also create 300 union construction jobs.
  • Long-Term Jobs on Hawaii Island – once completed, TMT will expend about $40 million annually in observatory operations and employ about 140 employees. Our commitment is to fill these positions with as many Hawaii residents as possible.
  • Maunakea Stewardship – TMT has committed to a lease rent of $1 million annually, with $800,000 going to support stewardship of the mountain’s resources by the Office of Maunakea Management.
  • Native Hawaiian Programs – Twenty percent of TMT’s annual lease rent will go to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for the benefit of the native Hawaiian population it serves.
  • Scientific Research and Discoveries – TMT will add to the best astronomical research in the world that is happening on Maunakea, cementing Hawaii’s reputation as the international leader in astronomical science. The University of Hawaii’s nationally recognized Institute for Astronomy will also benefit from the important infrastructure TMT will provide to enhance students’ learning by studying the universe.

For these and more facts about TMT on Maunakea, visit the Get The Facts page.

Latest Status

Understanding the Past, Navigating the Present, Embracing the Future
August 9, 2019

Ed Stone, Executive Director; Christophe Dumas, Observatory Scientist; and Gordon Squires, Vice President, External Relations

It is no coincidence that the ideal location to peer from Earth into the heavens is here in Hawaii. The Island of Hawaii has been the home of TMT for more than a decade. But for much longer than that, it has been a place where science and spirituality are woven into the fabric of every-day culture.

We think it’s fair to say that what is happening today in Hawaii isn’t just about the construction of TMT on Maunakea. Among those who remain opposed are many who see TMT as a platform for what they believe is the wrong side in the much larger political issue of Hawaiian sovereignty and past injustices. We respect those who express opposition and understand the pain they feel. However, TMT is a bystander in that larger conversation that has been going on for many years. And whether or not TMT is built in Hawaii will not bring closure to it.

Although it may not appear this way at the moment given what is being shared and seen in social media, the majority of Native Hawaiians actually support the construction of TMT on Maunakea: An independent poll conducted by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in 2018 found that 72 percent of Native Hawaiians (registered voters) support TMT, 23 percent oppose it and 5 percent were un-decided.

Similarly, many Native Hawaiians and others believe that Maunakea is sacred and yet can still be home to astronomy. A statewide poll conducted in 2018 found that 88 percent of Hawaii resi-dents agree there should be a way for science and Hawaiian culture to co-exist on Maunakea.

We are dismayed by the many false accusations being spread. We are dismayed that TMT supporters are being shown such great disrespect that some have become afraid to speak publicly.

We have a lot of supporters in Hawaii and they are asking us not to leave.

Get the Facts

EDUCATION

TMT worked with the community to develop programs that will prepare Hawaii Island students for future STEM jobs.

ENVIRONMENT

TMT is committed to a model of sustainable astronomy; one that respects the unique environment of Maunakea.

CULTURE

Great care was taken to identify the best location for TMT out of respect for Maunakea’s rich history and the spiritual beliefs of native Hawaiian culture.

ECONOMY

Astronomy directly supports about 1,000 jobs in Hawaii and has a total economic impact of $167.86 million statewide.

SCIENCE

Given its advanced technology, TMT will enable scientific discoveries that we cannot even begin to anticipate today.

Community Supporting TMT

We Asked, You Answered

A statewide scientific public opinion poll was conducted in October 2015 by Ward Research, Inc., an independent research firm based in Honolulu, Hawaii. Ward Research quota sampled for key demographic characteristics (e.g. age, ethnicity, gender, and island of residence). The demographics of the sample match the demographics of the community based on Census data. The margin of error is +/- 4%. Download: full poll results here.

 Yes/Agree   No/Disagree

Do you agree or disagree that there should be a way for science and Hawaiian culture to co-exist on Maunakea?

88%
10%

Do you support moving ahead with construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Maunakea?

62%
29%

Do you agree or disagree that TMT has followed a lengthy approval process, including permitting, community meetings and environmental impact statements, so work should proceed?

75%
22%

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