SMOKA: The Data Archive of NAOJ Telescopes
May 11, 2005
Subaru is committed to being an open use telescope. This means that astronomers from any country can compete for time to observe with the telescope. This also means that all data from the telescope is made open to astronomers after a proprietary period of 18 months. SMOKA (Subaru-Mitaka Okayama-Kiso Archive System) is the name of this data archive.
Scientists have already been mining the data in SMOKA to do original research, such as studying distant galaxies and X-ray sources. Recently in the news was a report that astronomers may have obtained an image of the star GQ Lupi and its companion, possibly one of the first planets outside our solar system. In this case, Subaru's archive data contributed an image of the potential planet which helped confirm that the object was indeed in orbit around a star.
This image of the star GQ Lupi and its companion was created by Ralph Neuhäuser, Gunther Wüchterl, Markus Mugrauer, and Ana Bedalov (University of Jena, Germany), Eike Guenther (Thüringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg, Germany), and Peter Hauschildt (Hamburger Sternwarte, Germany) based on data from the Coronagraphic Imager with Adaptive Optics (CIAO) on the Subaru telescope that was available from SMOKA.
ESO (European Southern Observatory) press release