SPIE Conference 2008 Showcases Innovative Telescope Technologies

August 18, 2008

Astronomers, based at Subaru and elsewhere, spend countless years honing their skills and developing their expertise. As part of their advancement, many become members of the International Society of Optical Engineering (SPIE), an interdisciplinary organization serving scientists, researchers, and engineers in industry, academia, and government. SPIE constituents work in a wide variety of fields that utilize various aspect of optics and photonics, which is the science and application of light. Of course, astronomy is founded on capturing and analyzing light, and the research and discoveries at Subaru assist in the design and development of light-based technologies used throughout the broader scientific and technical community.

To facilitate the collaboration among technical disciplines and information exchange, SPIE organizes and sponsors major conferences and educational programs around the world. One of these events occurred the last week of June 2008 in Marseilles, France, and was attended by tens of hundreds, including a group from Subaru.

The meeting, held between 23 and 28 June 2008, was titled Astronomical Instrumentation: Synergies Between Ground and Space, and included conferences, courses, workshops, and exhibits. The gathering was an important event for telescope and/or instrument builders and engineers, and was an ideal opportunity for Subaru staff to network with peers, hear about the latest research, and see the latest technology. The conferences, featuring two main categories, Telescopes and Systems and Technology Advancements, and topics ranged from space telescopes to adaptive optics and systems engineering to software and control.

At the conference, the delegation of 17 from Subaru consisted of astronomers, instrument builders, and software engineers. Each Subaru member gave an oral presentation during one of the many sessions, such as the following:

  • Ultra-high Sensitivity Wavefront Sensing for Extreme AO

    Astronomer Dr. Olivier Guyon showed that wavefront sensing techniques offer fundamental advantages over more traditional techniques for high contrast adaptive optics. He illustrated how wavefronts can be accurately estimated directly from either focal plane images or defocused pupil plane images in schemes similar to phase diversity.

  • A Framework for the Subaru Telescope Observation Control System Processing Based on the Command Design Pattern

    Software engineer Eric Jeschke discussed the design of a Python-based, object-oriented task framework for managing concurrency in a second-generation observation control system at Subaru.

  • Subaru Telescope Network III (STN-III): More effective, more operation-oriented and more inexpensive solutions for observatory’s needs

    Computer Division Chief Junichi Noumaru presented details on the redesign of the Subaru Telescope Network, including data storage transformation from tape to RAID (124TB) and LAN upgrade to a gigabit network.

  • First Results from Turbulence Profiling with SODAR at Subaru Telescope

    Telescope Engineer Fumihiro Uraguchi provided initial results on a Sound Detection and Ranging (SODAR) system installed at Subaru to better understand observing conditions in the lower atmosphere above the telescope. Detailed information and images are presented in an August 2008 TOPICS article on our website.

Overall, the Telescope and Systems conferences involved 34 presentations authored by Subaru members, while Technology Advancements included ten sessions presented by Subaru staff. Subaru was well represented in most sessions; however, our strongest showing involved conferences on “Adaptive Optics Systems” and “Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation”. A complete list of conference participants and presentations is provided as a supplement to this article (see list).

During the conference, Professor Masanori Iye served as symposium co-chair and one of the speakers of a plenary presentation on the early universe. Dr. Iye is the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) project director at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and has been a distinguished Project Scientist at Subaru, completing the FOCAS instrument in 2001 and the laser guide star adaptive optics system in 2006. Using Subaru, his team discovered in 2006 the most distant galaxy with a redshift of 6.96.

The conference concluded with over 2,100 people attending 1,900 presentations, 60 exhibits, 7 courses, and numerous social events. It was a powerful week of activities focused on technology enabling the frontier of scientific discovery. The conference provided an ideal environment for discussions at all levels between scientists, engineers, managers et al. and for members of academia, government, and industry to foster new ideas and collaborations. There was also time to meet old friends and colleagues, and opportunities to make new acquaintances.

Proceedings from this conference should be available by Fall 2008, and can be obtained through SPIE. Further details on research discoveries and innovative technologies at Subaru can be found within this website.

List of SPIE Conference Participant (PDF File)

Guidelines for use

document navigation