The Thirty Meter Telescope and the Giant Magellan Telescope will open up new frontiers in astronomy and astrophysics, thanks to their unprecedented sensitivities at optical and near-infrared wavelengths and diffraction-limited angular resolution of a few milliarcseconds. Both observatories will deploy multiple instruments, some designed for a wide range of scientific programs anywhere in the observable sky and others specialized for unique, high-priority investigations. These observatories will employ bespoke adaptive optics (AO) systems that can operate in various modes that will provide extraordinarily clear images of different types of objects (bright stars or faint galaxies) from wide to narrow fields of view and across a wide range of wavelengths.
Both telescopes’ adaptive optics modes and first-generation instrument suites will provide unparalleled capabilities including imaging and spectroscopy at the diffraction limit; wide-field natural-seeing spectroscopy; and high-sensitivity, high-resolution spectroscopy. As a result, these synergistic telescopes will deliver sweeping and immediate scientific impact in many areas, such as the discovery and detailed characterization of exoplanets, the exploration of the distant Universe, and probing for new physics.