Subaru Mitaka Office Supports Subaru Telescope from Japan

September 18, 2002

  1. What is the Subaru Mitaka Office?
  2. The Subaru Mitaka Office assists the operation of Subaru Telescope from Japan.

    The project to build Subaru Telescope began with just a handful of people 20 years ago when the name of the telescope was simply JNLT, Japan National Large Telescope. The project was formally renamed the "Subaru Telescope Project" when the Japanese government approved the budget for the telescope in 1991 and approximately 40 staff members began working to make the telescope a reality.

    In 1997, as the telescope was nearing completion, the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) Hawaii Observatory, also called the Subaru Telescope Hilo Base Facility, was built in Hilo, Hawaii. At the same time, the Subaru Mitaka Office was established to support the operation of Subaru Telescope from Japan as the successor to the Subaru Telescope Project Office.

  3. What does the Subaru Mitaka office do?
  4. All observing facilities of NAOJ, including Subaru Telescope, are available for use by the astronomical community both inside and outside Japan. Administering this system, called Open Use, is one of the most important roles of the Subaru Mitaka office.

    The office (1) receives observing proposals, (2) sends them to the Time Allocation Committee (TAC, which consists of Japanese astronomers) and referees (who consist of both Japanese and non-Japanese astronomers and are appointed by the TAC) and asks them to choose the best observing programs, and (3) arranges travel to Hawaii for observers whose programs have been selected.

    The Subaru Mitaka Office also negotiates contracts with Japanese companies for maintenance and upgrades of Subaru Telescope, supports the development of next generation astronomical instruments within NAOJ and at the Japanese universities, and carries out a public outreach program.

  5. Who are the members of the Subaru Mitaka Office?
  6. Subaru Mitaka Office consists of 22 astronomers and engineers, and eight administrative staff. The chief is Professor Kunio Noguchi (fourth from the left in the front row).






  7. What is the main job of the chief of Subaru Mitaka office?
  8. As chief, Prof. Noguchi is directly involved in the work of the office, but he is also responsible for managing the office and maintaining good communication between Mitaka and Hawaii.

    Questions to Prof. Noguchi:

    • Q1. What are your top priorities this year?
      There are many photographs of the construction of Subaru Telescope. We plan to digitize them so that we can use them easily for public relations and archive them for the future. We're also preparing to control Subaru Telescope remotely from Japan.
    • Q2. What are the greatest challenges in your work?
      The large distance and time difference between Japan and Hawaii is an operational challenge. We usually hold TV conferences to communicate with each other. In addition, even though Subaru telescope is in a foreign country, we have to operate it under antiquated domestic laws.



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