UK Infrared Telescope

UK Infrared Telescope

(UKIRT) The British infrared telescope sited on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, at the very high altitude of 4200 meters. The site is well above the main weather layers and the bulk of atmospheric water vapor, opaque to most infrared wavelengths; in addition there is excellent seeing for work at visible wavelengths. The telescope is funded by the UK (by SERC), the Netherlands, and Canada, and is run by the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh. It became operational in 1979. The mirror is 3.8 meters (150 inches) in diameter, making the instrument the world's largest infrared telescope. It is unusually thin (29 cm) and weighs only 6.6 tonnes, allowing an extremely lightweight supporting structure to be used. The mirror surface has been ground sufficiently accurately that it can also be used at visible wavelengths for short exposures.

A full range of cryogenic (very low temperature) facilities is provided for cooling the detectors in order to reduce spurious signals generated by the warmth of the detectors. There are also means for removing spurious signals generated by the telescope itself. The instruments mounted at UKIRT's Cassegrain focus include infrared spectrometers and photometers; the latter work at various wavebands – optical, infrared (1–5 μm, 4–35 μm), and submillimeter (0.3–1 mm). Heavier instruments are mounted at the coudé focus.

References in periodicals archive ?
In the new study, scientists used the UK Infrared Telescope (UKIRT), the Very Large Telescope (VLT) and the Subaru telescope to carry out the most complete survey ever made of star-forming galaxies at different distances, with around ten times the data of any previous effort.
It combines data from the UK Infrared Telescope in Hawaii and the Vista telescope in Chile.
in the skies Dr Paul Hirst (above), on Hawaii, where he works with the UK Infrared Telescope (below).
``The software controls the tele-scopes without human intervention.'' The programmes are currently being developed on the UK Infrared Telescope in Hawaii and will later expand to the JMU-ownedLiverpool Telescope on La Palma,in the Canary Isles.
In the new study, the team from Cambridge used infrared surveys being carried out on the UK Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) to peer through the dust and locate the giant black holes for the first time.