mountain profile Institute for Astronomy University of Hawaii


PLANETS will be an off-axis telescope combining several new technologies and instrumentation techniques. Off-axis telescopes can have far superior contrast because there are no obstructions in the beam such as secondary mirror supports. This limits the diffraction as well as scattered light from obstructions. The telescope will also be highly polished to minimize diffuse scatter from mirror roughness - a major source of scattering at large angles. This telescope will be ideal for coronography and other techniques requiring a stable optical path, as it will be seeing limited with very low instrumental scattered light. By combining expertise from various fields - coronography and high contrast imaging from solar physics, polishing, polarimetry, and adaptive optics from astronomical communities and the experience of each institutional partner - this telescope will make significant advances in several fields. The telescope is proposed for Haleakala, a 3000-meters (10,000-ft) volcano on the island of Maui, Hawai'i, with excellent weather and seeing.


The unique capabilities of this telescope will allow advances in the study of circumstellar environments, solar system planetary atmospheres, extrasolar planetary atmospheres and the development of the innovative instrumentation to enable this science.



The key technologies developed or improved as part of this project are innovative optics (low scattered light systems), adaptive optics, coronography, polarimetry and spectropolarimetry.



The major partners of this project include Japan, North America and Europe. The institutions include University of Hawai'i Institute for Astronomy (IfA), Tohoku University, and the Kiepenheuer Institute for Solar Physics (KIS) and the National Autonomous Univesity of Mexico (UNAM).