Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, December 24, 2004

Mauna Kea gets big-picture camera

Associated Press

HILO, Hawai'i — A new camera at the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope atop Mauna Kea will be able to capture images 3,600 times larger that those taken by the camera on the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers said.

The Wide Field Camera is the result of a five-year effort by scientists and engineers at the UK Astronomy Technology Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The 1.7-ton infrared camera, which is more than 18 feet long, had to be lifted into place above the telescope's primary mirror by a specially designed forklift.

The camera will allow astronomers to identify regions or stars worthy of a closer look.

The camera's development is "a milestone in astronomy" that will allow scientists to study such things as the distribution of dust across a galaxy, rather than use a combination of traditional images, said Rolf-Peter Kudritzki, director of the University of Hawai'i's Institute for Astronomy.