Astronomical Observatory, ‘K-DRIFT’, a telescope that is 1,000 times darker

Observation of the K-DRIFT test model (provided by Cheonmunyeon) ©News1

The Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute announced on the 31st that it has succeeded in developing a 30cm-class off-axis free-form telescope with pure domestic technology that can observe astronomical objects that are thousands of times darker than the night sky.

Since 2019, Cheon Moon-yeon has worked with small and medium-sized domestic optical parts manufacturing companies such as Green Optics Co., Ltd. and Slab Co., Ltd. to achieve these results.

The ultra-light astronomical observation team led by Dr. Ko Jong-wan of Astronomy-yeon Moon-yeon recently installed the K-DRIFT test model at the Bohyeonsan Observatory and succeeded in observing the ultra-trace light region that is about 1000 times darker than the brightness of the night sky around the NGC 5907 galaxy.

The telescope developed this time is a small optical telescope with an aperture of 30 cm.

However, it has acquired ultra-trace region observations around giant galaxies with a quality equivalent to that of the 8.2m Subaru telescope, the world’s largest single-aperture telescope.

K-DRIFT is about 1/750 the size of the diameter of the Subaru Telescope, but considering the light collecting power, exposure time, and observation conditions according to the telescope aperture, it is about 100 times more observable than the Subaru Telescope in observing ultra-light astronomical objects in the near space. performance was shown.

In particular, the newly developed K-DRIFT eliminates the shielding of the secondary mirror, which is a disadvantage of the existing axisymmetric reflector telescopes, through the off-axis free-form three-reflector telescope system.

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In addition, it eliminates scattered light and aberrations that occur inside the telescope, and at the same time secures a wide field of view, making it optimal for observing astronomical objects in the near space.

The off-axis free-form 3 reflector applied to this telescope requires advanced ultra-precise processing technology, and is the first case of successful observation by purely domestic researchers developed from design to processing, assembly, and alignment.

The research team is planning to complete the construction of the K-DRIFT test model observation system at the Bohyeonsan Observatory and start observing the ultra-trace light area around the giant galaxies in the nearby universe from the end of the year.

In addition, by further improving the performance of the stock free curved surface 3 reflectors, after 2024, the K-DRIFT will be installed in an area suitable for astronomical observation, such as Chile, and all-sky ultra-light exploration will begin.

“K-DRIFT, developed in collaboration with the cast and industry, will open up a new avenue for exploration and observation of ultra-trace light,” said Chun Moon-yeon, senior researcher Jong-wan Ko, who is in charge of the K-DRIFT development project.

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