House of the sun

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Science  04 Aug 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6350, pp. 444-447
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6350.444

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The $344 million Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST), the world's largest solar telescope, is nearly complete atop Haleakalā, the summit of Maui that stands more than 3 kilometers high. The exterior dome was finished in August 2016. The telescope's most important part—a 4-meter mirror—was poised to be delivered to the summit on 1 August, despite protests. Yet 50 kilometers away, across the Alenuihāhā Channel on Hawaii Island, the battle to build another major telescope took a far different turn: Efforts to build the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea have stalled. Why did these two seemingly similar projects have such different outcomes? From concept, to location, to politics, to public relations, many factors combined to smooth the the DKIST's way, whereas the TMT faced bigger challenges from the start.