How the Images Were Obtained: Happenings in the Subaru Telescope Dome

I thought I’d expand more about the actual observing and operations of the Subaru telescope by sharing these videos of how the telescope moves about on the sky and tracks the target its locked on to so that it follows it (most times)  at the rotation rate of the Earth and also a video showing some of the maintenance that goes on during the day day.

The video below I believe shows a few nights of Subaru observing taken from a vantage point in the dome. For the Suprime-cam observations we show you on the site, most if not all didn’t use the laser guide star system, but you can see it as the red line emanating from the telescope in the video

Warning the video can be a little bit shaking/jumpy:

Credit: Subaru Observatory

As I mentioned in my last blog post, the day operations and engineering nights are vital to keeping the Subaru telescope and instruments like Suprime-cam healthy. The images you see on Comet Hunters are cutouts from the full Suprime-Cam field-of-view around where we think the asteroid is and reference stars. To get the light to the camera its journey starts once it hits the primary collecting primary which is 8.2-meters in diameter.   As Charles mentioned in his post, this mirror is a one piece and to clean it, means doing the whole thing at once. To remove dust and dirt that land on the mirror reducing how good it is at collecting and reflect light, the mirror gets a carbon dioxide snow shower every few weeks. Check it out below:

Credit: Subaru Observatory

The music you hear as the telescope is moved into position is the motor encoders. I love that sound in telescope domes. To me it always seems like the telescope is singing whenever I’ve been lucky enough get a trip in to the domes of telescopes like Subaru

 

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