The Centro des Estudios de Física del Cosmos de Aragón (CEFCA) and the Javalambre Astrophysical Laboratory (OAJ) recently recorded the first-time images of the Andromeda Galaxy, 2.5 million light years from Earth, using the JPCam – which CEFCA calls “the definitive instrument” of the JST/T250 telescope, Teledyne announced on 21 July.

Designed to perform large sky surveys, JPCam is the second largest astronomical camera in the world, with over 1.2 billion pixels distributed in a mosaic of 14 Teledyne e2v scientific CCD (CCD290-99) image sensors that work in high vacuum conditions and at -110°C. Weighing over 1.5t, it provides scientific image quality with high resolution across its wide field of view.

Teledyne e2v designed and provided the 1.2 gigapixel camera for JPCam, which consists of the focal plane array (FPA), the detector control electronics and the CCD290-99 image sensors, along with the auxiliary CCD detectors for guiding and focusing the instrument. A key feature of the system is the FPA, which is contained in a custom cryogenic cooler.

The data collected by JPCam will be of great importance for various fields of astrophysics. The project will allow the study of questions such as the nature of dark energy, or the history of the expansion of the universe over the last 10.8 billion years, as well as informing scientists, astronomers and physicists about the formation and evolution of galaxies, the structure and history of our own galaxy, the Milky Way , or the systematic study of asteroids in our solar system.

Dr Antonio Marín-Franch, researcher at CEFCA, Head of the OAJ and Project Manager of JPCam, commented "This is, no doubt, the greatest complexity of the telescope-camera system, since it has been designed to provide very good image quality in an enormous field of view. This fact has conditioned the opto-mechanical designs of the JST/T250 and JPCam […] The night was great and we got fantastic results, measuring, as expected, an excellent and homogeneous image quality throughout the field of view.”

Christophe Tatard, VP Business and Product Development at Teledyne e2v, added “This is a great achievement for everyone involved. The camera FPA, FPGA control electronics and integration within the cryogenic cooling system for JPCam is a fantastic example of Teledyne e2v’s complete system design and delivery capability for high precision and difficult environments.”

The Andromeda Galaxy (M31) – technical first light image recorded 29 June 2020 by JPCam@JST/T250 (AOJ). (Image courtesy CEFCA)

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