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Mitsubishi Electric Helps Upgrade Subaru Telescope Observation System


Succeeds in trial of new observation instrument

TOKYO - Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (TOKYO: 6503) announced today it has delivered the Prime Focus Unit, a major component for the prime focus camera, the Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC), that has been newly installed in the Subaru Telescope on the Big Island of Hawaii. The National Astronomical Observatory Japan (NAOJ) of the National Institutes of Natural Sciences received the Prime Focus Unit from Mitsubishi Electric this month.

Also today, NAOJ released a set of breathtaking images of the universe taken with the HSC and Prime Focus Unit fitted provisionally to the Subaru Telescope.

The HSC’s unprecedented upgrade with the Prime Focus Unit will enable the Subaru Telescope to observe dark energy and dark matter with world-leading accuracy. Astronomists are actively trying to determine the characteristics of dark matter and dark energy, which comprise 90 percent of the universe and are considered crucial to understanding the origin and evolution of the universe.

The Subaru Telescope, which has an 8.2-meter diameter primary mirror, is noted for its high-quality wide-field observations. The new HSC realizes a field that is about seven times wider than the previous prime focus camera, the Suprime-Cam, but still maintains high-resolution images.

Mitsubishi Electric’s Prime Focus Unit helps to accurately maneuver the camera and wide-field corrector lens, which together weigh about 2.2 tons. The unit’s six actuators are capable of large load bearing and very high precision, enabling the lens and camera to be accurately positioned relative to the telescope’s primary mirror with micro-meter precision and extremely smooth motion to continuously compensate for the effects of gravity deflection. The instrument rotator’s drive mechanism rotates the camera on an optical axis with smooth precision to ensure that the camera is always aligned with the diurnal rotation of the sky.

Mitsubishi Electric managed construction of the Subaru Telescope, the world’s largest optical-infrared telescope, which is located at the summit of the 4,200-meter Mauna Kea in Hawaii. The company’s revolutionary temperature control system with ellipse dome reduces atmospheric blurring. Its 261 actuators maintain the 8.2-meter wide, 20-cm thick mirror in perfect shape. Mitsubishi Electric’s advanced technologies help realize the world’s highest level of performance in the Subaru Telescope.

Mitsubishi Electric aims to continue contributing to astronomy through the manufacture of large radio telescopes, optic telescopes featuring high-precision control systems, and antenna technologies.

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