US Extremely Large Telescope Program

The US Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) Program is a joint endeavor of NSF’s NOIRLab and the organizations building the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) and the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT). These organizations plan to submit for peer-review proposals that seek a federal contribution to complete the telescopes and make at least 25 percent of the observing time available for open access for the whole US community.  The two-hemisphere system would provide the US science community with greater and more diverse research opportunities than could be achieved with a single telescope.

Key Science Programs (KSPs) requiring substantial amounts of observing time, potentially over several years, would enable the US community to carry out transformational research that takes full advantage of the diverse capabilities of both GMT and TMT. Smaller-scale Discovery Science Programs (DSPs), allocated on a more frequent cadence, would be nimble, exploratory, and responsive to new scientific opportunities.

To facilitate access to the telescopes and the data that they deliver, NOIRLab would provide an extensive suite of user services, documentation, and training to support the entire research lifecycle from submission of proposals to observations to data analysis.