The Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope is located near the summit of Mauna Kea mountain on Hawaii's Big Island at an altitude of 4,204 meters (13,793 feet), and is one of the observatories that comprise the Mauna Kea Observatory. Operational since 1979, the telescope is a Prime Focus/Cassegrain configuration with a usable aperture diameter of 3.58 meters.
CFHT hosts three state-of-the-art instruments: MegaPrime, a wide-field high resolution CCD mosaic of 36 CCDs and 340 MegaPixels; WIRCam, an infra-red mosaic of 4 detectors and 16 MegaPixels optimized for the J, H, and K spectral bands; and ESPaDOnS, a new échelle spectrograph / spectropolarimeter. PUEO, an adaptive optics bonette, is still offered to users, while Gecko, a very high resolution spectrograph, and MOS, the Multi Object Spectrograph, can be used on special request only.
CFHT, in collaboration with Coelum Astronomia, maintains a public-outreach website called "Hawaiian Starlight" which offers extremely high-quality versions of CFHT images in various formats including a yearly calendar.
The corporation is bound by a tri-partite agreement between the University of Hawaii and the governments of Canada (through the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics) and France. Additional funding for WIRCam came from Korea and Taiwan.
Currently, CFHT observing time is offered to scientists from Canada, France and the State of Hawaii, the three funding partners. Astronomers from the European Union can also submit proposals through the Opticon Access program. An agreement between the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics and CFHT opens the telescope to the Taiwanese astronomical community up to the end of 2010.
Future instrumentation planned for CFHT include SITELLE, a Fourier transform spectrograph, and SPIRou, a near-infrared spectropolarimeter. Conceptual development is also underway for IMAKA, a wide-field optical imaging camera that incorporates ground layer adaptive optics.
The telescope is being used to conduct the Pan-Andromeda Archaeological Survey (PAndAS), a large-scale astronomical survey of the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and the Triangulum Galaxy (M33). The project involves members of the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope.|
- The Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope Corporation (official site)
- Hawaiian Starlight
- Photos of the Canada–France–Hawaii telescope and other Mauna Kea observatories from "A Gentle Rain of Starlight: The Story of Astronomy on Mauna Kea" by Michael J. West. ISBN 0-931548-99-3.
- WIRCAM optical configuration