The Subaru Telescope
note: animation illustrating light years takes almost a light year to load, but it's worth it
Astronomers on the Big Island, Hawaii are excited about the powerful new telescope called the Subaru telescope. The Subaru telescope is the biggest telescope on Earth (not the Hubble because it's in space). It was named for a star cluster known to Westerners as the Pleides. It is owned by the National Astromical Observatory of Japan. Astronomers hope it can let them see the unknown parts of the universe.
The telescope cost 300 million dollars. The glass that it uses was made beginning in 1991. It took 3 years to make the glass, then was polished by another company in Pittsburgh called Contraves. That task took 4 years. The mirror then arrived in Hilo, Hawaii after a month long journey: down the Mississippi river, across the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal, and over the Pacific Ocean. But there was another hard task. They had to get it up Mauna Kea and its rough roads. So it was placed on a base with 100 wheels, pneumatic controls, and shock absorbers to keep the mirror level at all times.
In diameter (length of line that splits mirror in half), the Subaru telescope is about 27 feet. It's on top the 14,000 foot high Mauna Kea because of the mountain's clean, dry air, and height. The telescope uses a special technology designed to prevent its 22-ton mirrors from sagging when it's changing to a different angle because it's so heavy.
Even though they are testing it, the Subaru telescope will be finished somewhere in March 2000. Its pictures are almost as good as the Hubble's. Scientists also are going to connect a spectrograph to the Subaru Telescope.
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