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The Most Powerful Telescope in Canada

Welcome Astronomers!

The Madawaska Highlands Observatory Wide-Field-Telescope (WFT) is designed to outperform all telescopes in the world in terms of monolithic widefield imaging with deep magnitude (faint). For example the telescope can survey the entire sky twice per night to magnitude 21.5 with the wideband filter. Or reaching magnitude 27 with a five square degrees Field-of-View (FOV) in 5 hours.

A special tool to calculate the limiting magnitude used in all our papers:

This capability will permit it to generate extremely spectacular wide-field images of the night sky and make significant contributions to solar system science, cosmology and many other fields of research. It could very well generate the best wide-field images of the night sky in the world.

The WFT will be the most powerful telescope in Canada. It employs very advanced technology and is full of innovation. The telescope itself is extremely light, some 10% the mass of classic telescope of its aperture. And employing the largest single chip CCD in the world, 112 million pixel, a 4" x 4" image sensor.

The Wide-Field-Telescope has a Gapless Field-of-View of Five Degrees²

This telescope is being made available to the global science community and will operate in an autonomous queuing mode. We expect about 1,000 hours of available science time per year. This is available to qualified institutions and other interested entities, organizations and individuals.

The WFT has an extremely wide FOV of five square degrees — 26 full moons in area. In addition the FOV is gapless and seamless, indeed it has the largest gaplesss FOV of any telescope in the world in this aperture class.

The WFT excels in photographing extremely large FOV to very faint magnitudes. And is the only such telescope in the world that is available for lease (rent).

Technical Highlights

— Five degrees² FOV
— Gapless, seamless and contiguous image
— 2.23° x 2.23°
— 1 metre aperture - f/2.4
— 2.4 metres focal length
— Prime focus optical design with a four lens corrector
— 0.76”/9u pixel pitch
— Etendue of AOmega; = 6.0m²deg²
— 21.5th magnitude whole sky, twice per night with wL filter
— 25th magnitude in 8 minutes with the wL filter (400 - 900 nm) s/n=3
— 26th magnitude in 45 minutes
— 27th magnitude in 5 hours
— Active optics - with 1u resolution - 6 degrees of freedom with focus
— Cryo-Tiger -100 °C cooling
— 1e-/hr/pixel, no dark frame required
— Carbon fiber - Optical Tube Assembly 200 Kg
— Open back cellular mirror - 0.25” optical surface - real time temperature tracking
— 10,560 x 10,560 CCD 16-port image sensor
— 112,000,000 pixel sensor, 100% fill factor
— 16-bit sampling , 80,000 e- well size
— 250 MB monochromatic
— 750 MB tricolor
— Back side illuminated sensor (BSI)
— 94% QE @ 550 nm
50% @ 1,000 nm
— ¾ sphere Calotte carbon fiber dome, elevated by ~4m from the ground
— Highly corrected field-of-view - on axis 8u and edge (1.6°) 13u 80% encircle energy
— Less than 6% vignetting in extreme corners

— 5 e- read noise @ 12 second downloads
— 10 e- read noise @ 2 second downloads
— ugriz, L (400 - 700 nm), wL (400 - 900 nm) and a wide selection of filters
— <10 seconds filter change time
— Exceptionally dark night sky 21.90 mag/arcsec² (SQM, v)

A detailed specifications is available in pdf format.

The telescope has already had significant interest from the global community.

3/4 sphere Calotte dome, elevated by 3.5 meters

The Calotte dome is made is carbon fibre, an outstanding nano-material with superb thermal and mechanical properties. Carbon fibre is also extremely light. This topology will allow the telescope to track ambient temperature in real time and produce a smooth laminar air flow for optimum science.


Scientific Papers
Over the last 8 years a series of technical papers have been published in professional science journals and newsletters. These were meant to introduce the Madawaska Highlands Observatory Wide-Field-Telescope (WFT) and showcase its enormous science capabilities.

Madawaska Highlands Observatory Wide-Field Telescope an the Array Telescope.pdf

MHO Survey Capabilities; (541 KB)

Solar System Science with the Madawaska Highlands Observatory WFT; (118 KB)

The Madawaska Highlands Observatory Wide-Field telescope and the Canada France Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) Wide-Field Comparative capabilities; (305 KB)

Supernova Science with the MHO.pdf (181 KB)
A short paper that demonstrates the MHO's capability to contribute to the field of cosmology.


Relevant Documents

The Wide-Field-Telescope (WFT) - the most powerful in Canada.
MHO_WFT_Technical_Specifications_June_2015_1.pdf (13.2 MB)

A second science telescope is planed for a later phase.
MHO_1m_f/7_RC_Nasmyth_Specifications_January_2015_1.pdf (3.3 MB)

M33 T80 HD
This spectacular 1.5 hour exposure in the g, r and i (SDSS) filters with the newly commissioned T80 0.82m telescope al the Javalambre Observatory in Spain. The image has sub arcsec seeing. Higher resolution. Higher resolution. Higher resolution. Higher resolution. It uses the same STA1600 112M chip that we will use for the WFT. Our mirror has 1.5X the area and twice the FOV. You can see the chip delivers superb images, only limited by the optics and seeing.

Click on image for higher resolution.


©2017 The Madawaska Highlands Observatory, Canada.