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Canon supplies lenses for extragalactic photo array

Dragonfly Telephoto Array Project using Canon EF 400mm f/2.8 lenses
(Image credit: Pieter van Dokkum, Yale University)

Canon will be providing technical backing to Project Dragonfly, a development undertaken by international research teams based at Yale and Toronto Universities. The manufacturer will be supplying 120 telephoto lenses to bolster the project. 

Telescopes within the array will each be equipped with multiple Canon super-telephoto single lenses, namely the Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens, capable of capturing the faintest of galaxies that had previously escaped detection from the largest of conventional telescopes. 

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The array is classified as a significantly important survey telescope in the process of finding faint and diffused objects in the night sky. The aim is to produce images that deepen our understanding of galaxy formation, and provide key insights into theories surrounding the nature of dark matter. Isn't science great?

Project Dragonfly was commissioned in 2013 and is housed at the New Mexico Skies observatory. Its mission is to study the low surface brightness areas of the universe, to elucidate the nature of dark matter while attempting to employ the concept of distributed telescopes working as a singular mechanism. 

Supporting this research, Canon supplied 40 lenses to the project in 2015, later expanding the array to 48 lenses, paired with 24 telescopes bundled together on 2 separate mounts, yielding significant results in the field of extragalactic astronomy. The project has since been able to establish identification of a galaxy that lacks dark matter, referred to as NGC 1052-DF2. The lenses provided contained anti-reflective coatings that are designed to mitigate the effects of light scattering. 

This latest supply from Canon brings the total number of provided lenses to 168, enabling the array to exploit light-gathering capabilities equivalent to that of a 1.8 meter-diameter refracting telescope, with a focal length of only 40cm. The project is expected to open new windows on the universe as a result of Canon's commitment to the developments of science and technology as a leading image company. 

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Beth Nicholls

A staff writer for Digital Camera World, Beth has an extensive background in various elements of technology with five years of experience working as a tester and sales assistant for CeX. After completing a degree in Music Journalism, followed by obtaining a Master's degree in Photography awarded by the University of Brighton, she spends her time outside of DCW as a freelance photographer specialising in live music events and band press shots under the alias 'bethshootsbands'.