The next-generation extremely large telescopes to shed light on the dark Universe

From August 30 to September 2, Shedding Light on the Dark Universe with Extremely Large Telescopes Conference was held in Lanzhou, China, hosted by the Institute of Modern Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences. It is the first installment of a three-part conference series, aimed at gathering community input in order to optimize the science, operations and instrumentations for the next-generation extremely large (30m class) optical/infrared telescopes. The focus of this meeting is how these telescopes can shed light on the nature of dark matter and dark energy.


Prof. Jarah Evslin welcomed everybody to the conference and then introduced the background and motivation of the meeting. More than 60 Scientists from 14 countries gathered at Lanzhou to discuss the science goals, instrumentations and current status of the three extremely large facilities, e.g: Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), and European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT); the synergy with other future facilities, such as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), was also discussed.


China is a member of the TMT International Observatory. The deputy TMT project manager, Dr. Fengchuan Liu, TMT-China project scientist, Dr. Shude Mao, and TMT SAC member, Dr. Lei Hao updated the attendees about the current status, construction progress and science capabilities of TMT. Dr. Shude Mao also gave a public lecture on “Extrasolar planets, extraterrestrial life and the Thirty Meter Telescope”. 


The conference attendees had broad discussions on how one can use diverse celestial objects (clusters of galaxies, supernovae, nearby dwarf galaxies, strong lenses and Lyman-alpha Forest) and large-scale surveys (for example, eBOSS, PFS, LSST) to constrain the properties of dark matter and dark energy. The conference was a success in carrying out preparatory theoretical and observational work that will be needed to make the most of these giant eyes on illuminating the nature of the dark Universe.
Lecture by Dr. Shude Mao