Canon Australia launches Huntsman Telescope with ten 400mm f/2.8L lenses

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Canon has teamed up with Macquarie University to launch a unique telescope consisting of ten “off the shelf” telescopes Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II Super Telephoto Lens most commonly used by sports or wildlife photographers.

The new Huntsman telescope is inspired by the Dragonfly telephoto set in the United States, and is designed to “hunt” and study ultra-faint galaxies and astronomical objects in the southern sky.

The Huntsman telescope is made up of 10 commercially available 400mm f/2.8L lenses, selected for their unique nano-coating. Image: Canon

Located at Siding Spring Observatory near Coonabarabran, NSW, the Huntsman will survey the southern deep sky to provide researchers with an 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.

Canon says the second-generation Canon EF 400mm f/2.8 L lens was chosen for the task because it has “superb” anti-reflective properties, thanks to one of the first applications of Canon’s nano-engineered coatings . Each lens is connected to a red-colored camera which is then individually connected to one of 10 mini-computers.

The coated lens array chosen for the Huntsman 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.

The Huntsman telescope is made up of 10 commercially available 400mm f/2.8L lenses, selected for their unique nano-coating.  Image: Canon
Image: Canon

Sarah Caddy, PhD candidate in the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at Macquarie University, says the combination of individual EF 400mm f/2.8L lenses allows the Huntsman telescope to adapt to the needs of scientists in the future.

“The Huntsman’s suite of powerful computers allows each lens or ‘eye’ 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,” she says.

The Huntsman Telescope team with famed astronomer Dr Fred Watson.
The Huntsman Telescope team with famed astronomer Dr Fred Watson.

According to the Huntsman Telescope’s principal investigator, Dr Lee Spitler, of Macquarie University’s School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences and Australian-Macquarie Astronomical Optics, the telescope’s work will be crucial in understanding what could happen if our Milky Way galaxy had a collision front 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. “

An image captured by the telescope showing the Tarantula Nebula. Image: Sarah Caddy, PhD candidate.

The Huntsman Telescope is not open to the public, but australian photography recently got a glimpse of the telescope – more on that soon.

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