Unlocking mysteries about the nature of the universe

The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) is a powerful tool to accelerate scientific understanding of the Universe of all humankind. It will advance the world's knowledge across a vast span of time from the first galaxies that formed in the Universe to the planets that orbit nearby stars in our own Milky Way galaxy that might harbor life. 

Our commitment to improve the quality of astronomical instrumentation goes back to the early days of the foundation. In 2002, the first grant from our Science Program went to the University of California, Santa Cruz for the creation of the Adaptive Optics Laboratory. Adaptive optics sharpen the vision of ground-based telescopes by removing the blurring effects of turbulence in the Earth's atmosphere. Our grant helped to improve the instrumentation for adaptive optics and years later that technology made the design of the Thirty Meter Telescope possible. Through grants to the University of California and Caltech, we are funding the design and construction of the observatory.

Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory partners


New frontiers

The Thirty Meter Telescope will be up to 200 times faster or able to detect objects 200 times fainter than today's most powerful telescopes.
  • first award

    Sep 2003

  • grants to date


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