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James Clerk Maxwell Telescope

A man stands under a large piece of blue equipment on white scaffolding.
NIST's Kent Irwin with SCUBA-2
Credit: NIST

Telescope Details



Mauna Kea, Hawaii


The telescope’s Submillimeter Common-User Bolometer Array 2 (SCUBA-2) camera images objects ranging from comets in the Earth's solar system to galaxies at the far ends of the universe. The camera can carry out large-scale surveys of the sky to unprecedented depths. Submillimeter wavelengths of light contain a lot of information about the universe; for instance, light from stars inside young galaxies is trapped in dust clouds and re-emitted in this band.

NIST’s role:

The SCUBA-2 camera is made of more than 10,000 NIST sensors. The camera is a collaboration of the UK Astronomy Technology Centre, NIST and four British and Canadian universities.

Significant discoveries:

SCUBA-2 has imaged thousands of submillimeter galaxies, which are used to understand galaxy evolution and cosmic star formation. 

Other interesting facts:

SCUBA-2 maps the sky 100-150 times faster than its predecessor camera.

Operated by:

The East Asian Observatory


SCUBA-2 sensor array
SCUBA-2 sensor array
Created October 6, 2021, Updated November 3, 2021