(Multi-Object Infrared Camera and Spectrograph)

FMOS Photo

MOIRCS is a near-infrared camera and spectrograph that combines a wide field of view with the capacity to capture the spectra of about 40 objects simultaneously. Its most notable feature is its multi-object spectroscopy, which opens a large window to the Universe by allowing researchers to obtain infrared spectra for a large number of objects in a single observation.

Fast Facts

  • Description:
    • Infrared camera and spectrograph
    • Wide field of view
    • Three principal structures
      • Main cryostat
      • Multiple-object mask exchange system
      • Support frame
  • Operation:
    • Camera
      • Mirrors split incoming light and send different parts of image to two detectors.
      • Tohoku University Focal Plane Array Controller (TUFPAC) produces images.
    • Spectrograph
      • Capable of obtaining multiple spectra of up to 40 astronomical objects at the same time, marking a dramatic increase in observational efficiency over single object spectroscopy
      • Mask carousel
        • Has up to 21 mask slots for multi-object spectroscopy.
        • Can switch between two masks in 4 minutes.
        • Separated from main instrument structure so that new masks can be put on without opening the entire instrument.
  • Applications:
    • Exploration of objects at the far reaches of the Universe
      • Large numbers of distant galaxies
      • Large structures, e.g., nearby nebulae
  • Specifics:
    • Size and weight:
      • 2 m x 2 m x 2 m (7 ft. x 7 ft. x 7 ft.)
      • 2.3 tons
    • Placement: Cassegrain focus
    • Detectors used: two, 4 megapixel Hawaii II detectors (2048 x 2048)
    • Filters available for imaging and spectroscopy: Y, J, H, K bands
    • Wavelengths: near-infrared between 0.9 and 2.5 microns
    • Fully cryogenic
    • FOV: 4 x 7 arcminutes
    • Spectral resolution in three modes
      • Low (R~400)
      • Medium (R~1300)
      • High (R~3000)
    • Spatial Resolution: 0.117 arcsecond
  • Development:
    • Co-developed by Subaru Telescope (National Astronomical Observatory of Japan) and Tohoku University.
      • Research and development began in 1999 with significant contributions by graduate students.
        • Overcame several challenges, e.g., developing a drive mechanism for the mask that could withstand cryogenic conditions of at least minus 150 degrees.
        • Tohoku University Focal Plane Array Controller (TUFPAC) software was developed at Tohoku University.
        • Construction began in 2000.
          • Handbuilt from individually procured high-performance parts
          • Was the world's first multi-object near-infrared spectrograph available for common use on a large (8-10 m) telescope.
    • "nuMOIRCS" Project scheduled for 2015
      • Introduction of integral field spectroscopy (IFU) function to MOIRCS
      • Change detectors to Hawaii II RG
      • Replacement of all electronics related to the detectors
  • Specialized Information about the Instrument and Observing:





Guidelines for use

document navigation

local navigation

Observational Instruments