Collaborative IfA-Tohoku Planetary Observations at Haleakala with 40cm, 60cm, and PLANETS telescopes
Sho Okano



Our group at Planetary Plasma and Atmospheric Research Center of Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan, has been conducting observations of solar system bodies at the summit of Haleakala since 2000. We now operate a 40cm Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, equipped with an Echell spectrograph with resolving power of 60,000. Although the telescope is small, we have exciting results like the first image of sodium exosphere escaping from Mercury, and 630nm oxygen emission from orbit of Enceladus, a small icy satellite of Saturn. We have a 60cm Cassegrain-Coude telescope at our Iitate Observatory in Fukushima prefecture in Japan. At the time of Eastern Japan Disaster on March 11, 2011, the dome was severely contaminated with radiation from the nuclear plant accident. With collaboration from IfA, we will move the uncontaminated telescope to Haleakala this year. It will include a novel laser heterodyne spectrometer for exploring the planetary atmospheres with ultra-high spectral resolution. In about one year time, we will begin installation of our 1.85m PLANETS telescope on Haleakala. This is an international collaboration with UNAM, KIS and private investors to build a telescope especially designed for high dynamic range observations.