Statement about NHK Topics Item released on August 2 (JST)
August 1, 2001
National Astronomical Observatory of Japan
Director of Subaru Telescope
Subaru Telescope, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan
Topics reported by NHK (Nippon Hoso Kyokai; Japan Broadcasting Corporation) on August 2 (JST) in Japan contains information that may prove misleading to the public. Specifically, the report claims that Subaru Telescope has experienced a new problem. In fact, Subaru Telescope is operating normally and being used for scientific research as scheduled. There are no new problems with the telescope. Beginning in August and running till the middle of October, Subaru Telescope is scheduled to undergo various maintenance tasks, which are explained here. We request that Topics agencies refer to this document if necessary.
On March 19, 2000, a device called a "fixed point" became detached from the reverse side of Subaru Telescope's primary mirror (Release of May 12, 2000). As this is not the surface of the mirror that's used to gather and focus starlight, there has been no effect on the performance of the telescope. Repairs were carried out and the telescope continues to perform well. (Please see the first release after the repair work).
Starting on August 8, we will be recoating Subaru's primary mirror. This is routine work that happens roughly once per year. During this process, the mirror is removed from telescope and lifted off the mirror cell. This gives us the opportunity to do further work on the three fixed points, replacing them with units of a more serviceable design. The plan to exchange the fixed points was worked out more than a year ago.
Further regarding the Topics item broadcast by NHK on August 2nd (and currently available as a RealMedia clip on their website), please note:
- - there are 261 acutuators which support Subaru's primary mirror, not 291, as reported;
- - only one of the fixed points detached, not two; and
- - the telescope shown in the second half of the Topics clip is NOT Subaru Telescope ... it's one of the Keck telescopes