MADRID, March 30 (Xinhua) -- The Spanish island of La Palma, in the Canary Island chain situated in the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of Africa, could host one of the biggest telescopes in the world following an agreement signed on Wednesday.
The Canary Island Institute of Astrophysics (IAC) and the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) International Observatory signed the accord to make the site on the Roque de los Muchachos on La Palma the site for what by 2025 will be the most powerful telescope in the world, if the original plan to house the TMT on Maunakea in Hawaii finally turns out to be inviable.
The TMT will be, as the name suggests, 30-meters wide and the ambitious project is promoted by the University of California and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA), and the national institutes of Japan, China, and India.
"This is an important step for TMT," said TMT Executive Director Ed Stone, who added that project wanted to ensure "a site suitable to start construction should Maunakea not be feasible."
The TMT official website comments that the Roque de los Muchachos site in La Palma, "provides exceptional conditions for astronomical observations," and would be "an excellent site for TMT's core science goals."
Meanwhile, IAC Director Rafael Rebolo commented that he was "excited about the possibility of welcoming TMT," adding that "the capacity for outstanding astronomical discoveries is beyond thrilling," and that the agreement was good for "Spain and the worldwide astronomy community."