Prime Focus Spectrograph, Subaru’s new telescope instrument, sees ‘first light’

(ORDO NEWS) — The Subaru Telescope’s new instrument, which will use about 2,400 fiber optic cables to capture light from celestial objects, has seen its first light.

Full operation is planned to begin around 2024. The ability to observe thousands of objects simultaneously will provide unprecedented amounts of data for scientists.

Astronomers, in addition to cameras, use spectrographs to study celestial objects. The spectrograph breaks down the light from an object into its component colors.

This can tell astronomers various details about the object, such as how it moves, its temperature, and its chemical composition.

The Prime Focus Spectrograph (PFC), Subaru’s new telescope instrument, splits the visible light rainbow into two components: the red side and the blue side. So it might be more correct to call the datasets semi-rainbows.

Combined with a third type of detector, which can see infrared light invisible to humans, scientists get one and a half rainbows for an object studied by all three types of detectors.

Together with a wide-field camera (HSC: Hyper Suprime-Cam), PFS will help launch the Subaru Telescope 2.0 project, which will study the nature of dark matter and dark energy, the formation of structures in the Universe, and the physical processes of formation and evolution of galaxies.

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