The UK Infra-Red Telescope
UKIRT is one of the world’s largest telescopes devoted to infrared astronomy. Its high quality 3.8 metre mirror views the Universe with infrared light - the invisible heat radiation beyond red at the edge of a rainbow.
Owned by STFC, and sited at an altitude of 4194 metres above sea level, UKIRT is currently engaged in the completion of world class wide-field surveys of the sky with its Wide-Field Camera (WFCAM) instrument, which was built at the UK Astronomy Technology Centre in Edinburgh. The main survey project is the world-leading UKIRT Infrared Deep Sky Survey (UKIDSS) project, surveying thousands of square degrees of the sky to great depth with unprecedented clarity.
James Clerk Maxwell Telescope
The JCMT is the largest astronomical telescope in the world designed to operate in the submillimetre wavelength region of the spectrum, between infrared and radio waves. It is operated under a tripartite agreement between STFC, the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO) in The Netherlands and the National Research Council (NRC) in Canada.
Situated just 102 metres below UKIRT on Mauna Kea, the JCMT is used to study our Solar System, distant galaxies and interstellar dust and gas.
It detects the coldest material in the Universe, only a few tenths of degrees above Absolute Zero, by using extremely sensitive and sophisticated equipment. During 2010, the new SCUBA-2 instrument will enter full operation on JCMT, offering a new and world-leading capability for the telescope. Several major surveys of the sky are planned with this new instrument.