Thirty Meter Telescope comes with painful choices

Joining a massive project like this will force Canadian astronomers to make some painful choices. I mean, it's great to have this sort of problem but that does not mean that the sting will be less. And yes, lets be honest - the costs will probably rise, at least because we don't know what our share of the operating costs will be (IIRC, the rule of thumb is 10% of capital costs, so about $25M annually for Canada's share). And then there is Canada's involvement in the Square Kilometre Array that will need to be sorted out - a project that will cost at least as much as the TMT (but for which there will be no competing telescopes - it's all or nothing). 

Yeah - expect to hear more.

Once the euphoria of this week’s announcement dies down, astronomers behind the project will need to nail down the precise extent of Canada’s commitment in hopes of avoiding shortfalls like those that afflicted Canada’s contribution to the Gemini Observatory in the 1990s. Gemini consists of a pair of eight-metre telescopes that are the largest to which Canada has access. As TMT ramps up, the scientific community will also have to decide whether it will be necessary or advisable to ramp down Canada’s role in Gemini and/or the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope.