COMICS First Light!
January 10, 2000
COMICS (Cooled Mid-infrared Camera and Spectrometer) is an instrument that can observe the longest in infrared wavelength among the first-generation instruments of the Subaru Telescope. Both images and spectra of objects in mid-infrared (8 - 28 μm) can be obtained with COMICS. An infrared instrument needs to be cooled because infrared radiation is emitted by all warm objects. COMICS is packed into a large silver vacuum bottle and all devices are cooled to 30 - 40K.
The Subaru Telescope has four foci: Primary focus, Cassegrain focus, and two Nasmyth foci (one optical and one infrared). COMICS is attached to the Cassegrain focus of the Subaru Telescope.
After checking its operation at the base facility, COMICS was taken to the summit of Mauna Kea, and then attached to the Cassegrain focus of the Subaru Telescope.
COMICS attached to the Cassegrain focus
The upper blue part is the back of the primary mirror support.
COMICS detected infrared light from beta And on December 14, 1999, its moment of "First Light." The weather continued to be fine and test observations were carried out in due course. One of the scientific purposes of COMICS is to reveal the formation mechanism of planetary systems with imaging and spectroscopic observations. We will report the results from COMICS on these web pages in the future.