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Macquarie University, supported by Canon Australia, today officially unveiled the Huntsman Telescope, a new concept telescope designed to ‘hunt’ and study ultra-faint galaxies and astronomical objects in the southern sky. Comprised of 10 commercially available Canon EF 400mm f/2.8 L IS II super telephoto lenses, the Huntsman Telescope is the only such telescope in the Southern Hemisphere.
Located at Siding Spring Observatory near Coonabarabran, NSW, the Huntsman Telescope will survey the southern deep sky to provide researchers with a unique understanding of galaxy formation and evolution; how galaxies form, how they grow, how they interact with structures around them, and what happens when galaxies collide.
According to Huntsman Telescope principal investigator Dr Lee Spitler, of Macquarie University’s School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences and Australian-Macquarie Astronomical Optics, the work of the Huntsman Telescope will be crucial in understanding what could happen. if our Milky Way galaxy had a head – in a collision with its neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy – an event thought to occur in 4.5 billion years.
“The Huntsman Telescope is a pioneer in how we view our southern skies by capturing images of the faintest galaxy structures that conventional telescopes simply could not,” says Dr Spitler. “The ability to observe remnants of galaxies colliding with each other and to search for the faintest and smallest galaxies in the universe will help us understand the potential fate of the Milky Way in the distant future. “
Inspired by the innovative US-based Dragonfly Telephoto Array, the Huntsman Telescope features Canon EF 400mm f/2.8 L IS II super telephoto lenses that are typically used by professional sports or wildlife photographers.
Part of Canon’s professional L-series lens range, the second-generation Canon EF 400mm f/2.8 L lens boasts superb anti-reflective properties, thanks to one of the first applications of patented nano-engineered coatings of Canon with sub-wavelength structures on the optics. eyeglasses. The coated lens array contrasts with a conventional mirror telescope, whose imperfectly polished surface can introduce subtle errors that ruin the extensive and faint structures surrounding galaxies.
Additionally, each lens in the array is equipped with a single monolithic wide-field detector covering six square degrees. With multiple redundant lines of sight, the Huntsman is capable of extremely accurate emission modeling of the night sky and producing ultra-clear renderings of our universe.
“For 80 years, Canon has been committed to developing precision optical technologies that exceed the needs of our customers, and we are proud that our EF lenses will play a role in helping Australian scientists solve some of the most critical questions in astronomy today. said Kotaro Fukushima, General Manager of Canon Oceania.
“With our roots in camera development, Canon has diversified its business and technology potential to become essential to a wide range of fields – from space exploration to printing, medical equipment and security – in the purpose of solving various social challenges and enriching the lives of all citizens of the world. By combining our innovative imaging technology with artificial intelligence, cloud and other computing solutions, Canon is helping to unlock the next stage from the future. “
Of the nine members of the Huntsman Telescope’s technical and scientific team, five are PhD students from Macquarie University, who benefit from the unique opportunity to have hands-on training with such high-tech equipment.
According to Sarah Caddy, a PhD candidate in Macquarie University’s School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, observing the Dragonfly Array program in the northern sky, the approach of combining individual EF 400mm f/2 super telephoto lenses .8 L IS II will allow the Huntsman Telescope to scale to the needs of scientists in the future. Recent telescope upgrades are already planned to further enhance Huntsman’s abilities to study the Universe.
“The Huntsman’s powerful new suite of computers allows each lens or ‘eye’ of the Huntsman to operate independently of one another. This will allow the telescope to autonomously detect ultrafast transient events like stellar flares from distant stars, or even more exotic phenomena like helping to find the origin of fast radio bursts that keep escaping. to astronomers,” says Caddy.
The Huntsman Telescope project is a joint project between the Macquarie University School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences and the Australian Astronomical Optics-Macquarie, both within the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Macquarie University. The project is financially supported by a Discovery Project awarded by the Australian Research Council.