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United Kingdom Infrared Telescope

The world's largest telescope dedicated solely to infrared astronomy, UKIRT is sited in Hawaii near the summit of Mauna Kea at an altitude of 4194m above sea level. It is owned by the United Kingdom Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council and operated, along with the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT), by the staff of the Joint Astronomy Centre, which is located in Hilo. The operation and development of UKIRT are overseen by the UKIRT Board.

UKIRT sees the universe with infrared light, the invisible heat radiation that lies beyond red at the edge of a rainbow. It was originally designed as a relatively simple 'light collector', but its 3.8-meter diameter mirror is of extremely high quality. Advanced upgrades to the rest of the telescope have allowed UKIRT to take full advantage of the excellent conditions on Mauna Kea.

UKIRT detects its light with a suite of advanced instruments, including newcomers Michelle (the Mid-Infrared Echelle Spectrograph) and UIST (the UKIRT Imager Spectrometer). These 'workhorse' instruments are capable of performing the three main types of infrared observations: imaging, spectrometry, and polarimetry.

For more information visit the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope website.

United Kingdom Infrared Telescope on Mauna Kea                   Inside United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT)

Pictures Courtesy of (from left to right):
United Kingdom Infrared Telescope on Mauna Kea by Simon Fraser, Science Photo Library
United Kingdom Infrared Telescope by Royal Observatory Edinburgh

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