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Proceedings Paper

Critical science with the largest telescopes: science drivers for a 100-m ground-based optical-IR telescope
Author(s): Timothy G. Hawarden; Dainis Dravins; Gerard F. Gilmore; Roberto Gilmozzi; Olivier Hainaut; K. Kuijken; Bruno Leibindgut; Michael Merrifield; Didier Queloz; Rosie Wyse
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Paper Abstract

Extremely large filled-aperture ground-based optical-IR telescopes, or ELTs, ranging from 20 to 100m in diameter, are now being proposed. The all-important choice of the aperture must clearly be driven by the potential science offered. We here highlight science goals from the Leiden Workshop in May 2001 suggesting that for certain critical observations the largest possible aperture - assumed to be 100m (the proposed European OverWhelmingly Large telescope (OWL) - is strongly to be desired. Examples from a long list include: COSMOLOGY: * Identifying the first sources of ionisation in the universe, out to z ≥14 * Identifying and stufdying the first generation of dusty galaxies * More speculatively, observing the formation of the laws of physics, via the evolution of the fundamental physical contants in the very early Universe, by high-resolution spectroscopy of very distant quasars. NEARER GALAXIES: *Determining detailed star-formation histories of galaxies out to the Virtgo Cluster, and hence for all major galaxy types (not just those available close to the Local Group of galaxies). THE SOLAR SYSTEM: A 100-m telescope would do the work of a flotilla of fly-by space probes for investigations ranging from the evolution of planetary sutfaces and atmospheres to detailed surface spectroscopy of Kuiper Belt Objects. (Such studies could easily occupy it full-time.) EARTHLIKE PLANETS OF NEARBY STARS: A propsect so exciting as perhaps to justify the 100-m telescope on its own, is that of the direct detection of earthlike planets of solar-type stars by imaging, out to at least 25 parsecs (80 light years) from the sun, followed by spectroscopic and photometric searches for the signature of life on the surfaces of nearer examples.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 January 2003
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 4840, Future Giant Telescopes, (30 January 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.458051
Show Author Affiliations
Timothy G. Hawarden, Royal Observatory (United States)
Dainis Dravins, Lund Observatory (Sweden)
Gerard F. Gilmore, Institute of Astronomy (United Kingdom)
Roberto Gilmozzi, European Southern Observatory (United States)
Olivier Hainaut, European Southern Observatory (United States)
K. Kuijken, Kapteyn Astronomical Institute (Netherlands)
Bruno Leibindgut, European Southern Observatory (United States)
Michael Merrifield, Univ. of Nottingham (United States)
Didier Queloz, Univ. de Geneve (United States)
Rosie Wyse, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4840:
Future Giant Telescopes
J. Roger P. Angel; Roberto Gilmozzi, Editor(s)

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