An Introduction to Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC)

The Hyper Suprime-Cam  (HSC) is the next generation camera on the Subaru Telescope, replacing its’ predecessor  Suprime-cam that had been used for 18 years. The field of view (FOV) has been dramatically increased from 0.16 to 1.5 square degree (10 times!!!). The HSC has not only a large FOV but it is also mounted on one of the biggest telescopes in the world. The camera’s ability and efficiency are the mightiest in the current observatories. HSCs physical extent is larger than three meters. Its focal plane (60 cm in diameter) is paved with 116 CCDs (including focus and tracking chips), operating in -100 degrees centigrade. The diameter of the front lens is 82 cm, the length of the lens barrel is 165 cm. The total weight is 890 kg. Every exposure includes 870 million pixels.

(c) Subaru Telescope, NAOJ

Before the HSC era, most of the cameras with large sky coverage were installed on  medium or small telescopes (48-inch-a few meter telescopes), e.g. GigaPixelCamera on Pan-STARRS 1 (1.8m), MegaCam on the  Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (3.6m) and Magellan(3.6m), Dark Energy Camera on the Blanco Telescope (4m). Although they can cover a few square degrees, the sensitivity is  25% less than what you can achieve on an 8-meter class telescope. In some astrometry topics, like micro-lensing and large structure in the universe, both large aperture and FOV are vital. The enough sample will lead astrometers to a significant and compact conclusion.


(c) Subaru Telescope, NAOJ

The HSC Subaru Strategic Program (SSP) is most important and largest programs o the  Subaru Telescope in this decade. This survey started in 2014, finishing at 2019. This program will survey 1400 square degrees, using optical to near-infrared filters (g, r, i, z and y), reaching a 26.5 magnitudes in stacked images. The survey regions are fixed on the equator (Dec = 0) and cross with Ecliptic plane where are the locations including a lot of solar system bodies. Hence, beside cosmology science, this survey data is quite valuable for Solar System science. Now with the HSC Survey Search, you can search for cometary activity in asteroids imaged in the HSC survey on Comet Hunters.

7 responses to “An Introduction to Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC)”

  1. Bill Collins says :

    Do we get credit for any comets that we may discover?


  2. rod white says :


    I really enjoy this zoouniverse project but I haven’t done anything like this before and I think I would need more guidance. Is there a way that on a continual basis you could upload pictures of the sorts of things we should say yes to. I’m not sure if I am looking too deeply into the image to see if I can find a tail or not. It would be quite easy to simply click on the ‘no-tail’ option for every example. Those who stick with the project and spend numerous hours each week should really be given the chance to advance our skills. Otherwise, I think it would be too easy to get demotivated.




    • Meg says :

      Hi Rod,

      Thanks for being a part of Comet Hunters. Unfortunately, there’s very few examples of main-belt comets. We’ve provided as much examples as we can in the help box and in the tutorial. So we can’t really give more examples. The best way if a volunteer like yourself wants to hone your skills is to post on our Talk discussion tool, where the science team, Talk moderators, and others in the Comet Hunters community can discuss the images that you think have tails.




  3. teilhardinge says :

    I’m not sure if I should be identifying and saying yes, as often as I am. Is it possible to have weekly updates with recent examples?

    Thanks, Rod


  4. Eileen Brotzman says :

    The zooniverse project does not have numbers on them to report an anomaly please look at last research, which I am so enjoying, as this is a new research we must have a way to report a finding that is not covered in the two or three questions. Thanks . Eileen Brotzman /6 Shower/19.5.16


    • Meg says :

      You can report an odd image by hitting the discuss button after classifying the image. it will take you to the discussion tool where you can comment on the image you reviewed and alert the science team. Many people review each image, and we company the observations together. So if there’s an odd image, do the best you can and continue on. We’ll be able to take the collective results from everyone to figure out what’s going on in the image.


      ~Meg from the Comet Hunters team


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