Los Angeles, California - With the recent approval of a sublease by Hawaii's Board of Land and Natural Resources, initial construction on the Thirty Meter Telescope - destined to be the most advanced and powerful optical telescope in the world - can now begin later this year.

The board's final go-ahead, received July 25, moves the University of California and UCLA a step closer to peering deeper into the cosmos than ever before.

Work on the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), named for its 30-meter primary mirror - three times the diameter of the largest existing telescopes - will take place atop Hawaii's dormant Mauna Kea volcano. The TMT's scientific operations are slated to start in 2022.

Researchers in the UCLA College will play a significant role in the development and use of the TMT, which will enable astronomers to study stars and other objects throughout our solar system, the Milky Way and neighboring galaxies, and galaxies forming at the very edge of the observable universe, near the beginning of time.

The project is a collaboration among universities in the United States and institutions in Canada, China, India and Japan, with major funding provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.