Telescope Made from Multiple Canon Lenses is Hunting for Galaxies

The Huntsman Telescope

Canon has partnered with an Australian university to bundle 10 Canon EF 400mm f/2.8 L IS II lenses together into what they call the Huntsman Telescope to scout the skies from the Southern Hemisphere.

The novel telescope design, made by Macquarie Unversity with support from Canon, will be used to search for and study ultra-faint galaxies and astronomical objects from Australia.

The Huntsman telescope is inspired by the massive Dragonfly Telephoto Array which consists of 24 Canon 400mm telephoto lenses and is based in the U.S.

The Huntsman Telescope

The second-generation 400mm was chosen because of its “superb” anti-reflection properties thanks to the lens having Canon’s nano-fabricated coatings, reports Australian Photography. The coated lens array contrasts to a conventional mirror telescope, whose imperfectly polished surface can introduce subtle errors that ruin faint, extended structures surrounding galaxies.

Furthermore, each lens in the array is equipped with a single monolithic wide-field detector covering six square degrees. With multiple redundant lines of sight, the Huntsman is able to achieve extremely accurate modeling of the night sky emission and produce ultra-clear renderings of the universe.

siding spring
Siding Spring Observatory where the Huntsman Telescope is housed.

Located at the Siding Spring Observatory near Coonabarabran, New South Wales, the Huntsman Telescope will perform deep southern sky surveys to provide researchers with a unique understanding about galaxy formation and evolution; how galaxies form, how they grow, how they engage with structures that surround them, and what happens when galaxies collide.

The Huntsman Telescope’s work will be crucial to understanding what might happen should the Milky Way Galaxy has a head-on collision with its neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy — an event theorized to occur in 4.5 billion years.

Orion Nebula
The Orion Nebula through the Huntsman Telescope | Sarah Caddy, PhD Candidate

“The Huntsman Telescope is pioneering the way in which we view our Southern skies by capturing images of the faintest galaxy structures that conventional telescopes simply could not,” says Dr. Lee Spitler, the Principal Investigator of the Huntsman Telescope. 

“The ability to observe the remnants of galaxies colliding with each other and searching for the faintest and smallest galaxies in the universe will help us understand the potential fate of the Milky Way in the far distant future.”