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Canon Technology Contributes To Subaru Telescope's Wide Field Of View

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., September 13, 2012   Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced that the Hyper Suprime-Cam*1 (HSC) ultra-wide-field second-generation prime focus camera, equipped with a corrector lens*2 that was developed and produced by Canon Inc., has recently been installed in the Subaru Telescope and began undergoing performance testing on August 28, 2012 (Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time).

The large-scale optical-infrared Subaru Telescope, located at the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii, and operated by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), commenced scientific observation in 1999. To make a wider field of view possible, the NAOJ, working in cooperation with multiple research institutes, including the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU) and the Todai Institutes for Advanced Study, developed the large-field-of-view HSC, entrusting Canon with the responsibility of developing and producing the camera's corrector lens unit.

Maximum angle of view expanded approximately three-fold

Because the HSC was to be installed within the existing structure of the telescope, the corrector lens unit had to satisfy a number of strict restrictions in terms of mass and dimensions. Calling on the design technologies cultivated by the Company over many years, along with measuring and precision-machining technologies newly developed for the task at hand, Canon succeeded in expanding the lens's maximum angle of view from the 0.5 degrees realized by the first-generation Suprime-Cam*3 (SC), to 1.5 degrees. Although the new corrector lens makes possible an angle of view approximately three times greater than that of the SC through the use of aspherical lenses, it employs only seven lens elements, the same number used in the SC, and has a lens diameter that is only approximately 1.6-times larger.

Through a range of space observation equipment, including the ultra-wide-field HSC, the amount of time required to survey a region of the sky that had previously been estimated at 16 years is now expected to be possible in only two years.

Reduced weight through advanced measuring and precision-machining technologies

Although the processing of aspherical lenses becomes increasingly difficult as lens size increases, through the use of precision measuring and machining devices produced in-house, Canon was able to create aspherical lens elements that deliver advanced imaging performance equivalent to that realized by the Suprime-Cam corrector lens. Additionally, the unit's lens barrel, which ensures that the lens delivers consistently high precision, newly employs a ceramic material that achieves a significant reduction in weight compared with the material used in the previous lens barrel. The production of the ceramic lens barrel also made use of Canon's precision machining technologies.

Subaru Telescope and Ultra-wide-field Prime Focus Camera

Corrector Lens Comparison: Hyper Suprime-Cam vs. Suprime-Cam

    Hyper Suprime-Cam Corrector Lens Suprime-Cam Corrector Lens
Lens Angle of view 1.5 degrees 0.5 degrees
Imaging performance 0.2 arc seconds 0.2 arc seconds
Maximum effective diameter Approx. 820 mm Approx. 507 mm
Lens construction 7 elements in 7 groups 7 elements in 5 groups
No. of aspherical surfaces 5 surfaces 2 surfaces
Maximum asphericity Approx. 4.89 mm Approx. 0.14 mm
Lens Barrel External diameter Approx. 970 mm Approx. 600 mm
Length Approx. 1,664 mm Approx. 690 mm
Weight Approx. 872 kg Approx. 170 kg

About Subaru Telescope

Since beginning scientific observation in 1999, the Subaru Telescope has set new records in the discovery of most-distant galaxies, contributing to various space observation efforts.

Progress in space research has led to the discovery of a number of new mysteries of the cosmos, such as dark matter and dark energy. With the completion of the Hyper Suprime-Cam, enabling the wide-field viewing of space, expectations are high that research efforts can be further accelerated toward the uncovering of the origins and the future of our universe.

Through the company's technology, Canon will continue contributing to the development of the world's science and technology fields.

About Canon U.S.A., Inc.

Canon U.S.A., Inc., is a leading provider of consumer, business-to-business, and industrial digital imaging solutions. With approximately $45.6 billion in global revenue, its parent company, Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), ranks third overall in U.S. patents registered in 2011† and is one of Fortune Magazine's World's Most Admired Companies in 2012. In 2012, for the ninth consecutive year, Canon U.S.A. has received the PCMag.com Readers' Choice Award for Service and Reliability. Committed to the highest level of customer satisfaction and loyalty, Canon U.S.A. provides 100 percent U.S.-based consumer service and support for all of the products it distributes. Canon U.S.A. is dedicated to its Kyosei philosophy of social and environmental responsibility. To keep apprised of the latest news from Canon U.S.A., sign up for the Company's RSS news feed by visiting www.usa.canon.com/rss.


† Based on weekly patent counts issued by United States Patent and Trademark Office.

All referenced product names, and other marks, are trademarks of their respective owners.

*1 The Hyper Suprime-Cam is an observation instrument located at the Subaru Telescope's prime focus that makes possible wide-coverage observation. Among telescopes with a primary mirror measuring more than 8 m in diameter, Subaru Telescope is the only one to be equipped with an observational instrument at prime focus. (As of Sept. 13, 2012, based on a National Astronomical Observatory of Japan survey)

*2 The corrector lens is a lens unit that corrects aberrations in the light gathered by the telescope's primary mirror to make possible high imaging performance.

*3 Abbreviation of Subaru Prime Focus Camera

Subaru Telescope and Ultra-wide-field Prime Focus Camera