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Learn more about our telescopes
The Joint Astronomy Centre located in Hilo, Hawai`i, operates two telescopes on the summit Mauna Kea.

Left: the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT). Right the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT). For a selection of images of the telescope, instrumentation and science follow the links for the JCMT and UKIRT.

Click below for the JAC Image Gallery:


Latest PR image from the summit

W51, located in the constellation of Aquila, is one of the most massive regions of star formation within the galaxy. It is in stellar nurseries such as this that the stars form with enough mass to go on to end their lives in Supernova explosions. The background is a mid-infrared Spitzer image while the blue overlay is 850μm data from SCUBA-2. Credit: Spitzer/ GLIMPSE, JAC.

This image was released to celebrate the JCMT's 25th Birthday. The JCMT first turned its dish to the heavens this week in 1987, and now, a quarter of a century later, the JCMT continues to lead the world in sub-millimetre astronomy. For the full press release click here.

Science Results In the News
For a full list of news coverage items from the JAC click here.

BBC News:
Picture Captures a Billion Stars
Universe Today:
Star Seeds
Discovery News:
Pluto's Atmosphere: Big, Poisonous and Comet-like

Press Releases
For a full list of press releases form the JAC click here.

'Cosmic GDP' crashes 97% as star formation slumps: An international team of astronomers has established that the rate of formation of new stars in the Universe is now only 1/30th of its peak and that this decline is only set to continue. Image credit: Chandra / NASA / NOAO / KIPAC.
Measuring the universe's 'exit door': For the first time, an international team, led by researchers at MIT's Haystack Observatory, has measured the radius of a black hole. Using radio dishes in Hawaii (including the JCMT), Arizona and California to create a telescope array called the 'Event Horizon Telescope' (EHT) that can see details 2,000 times finer than what's visible to the Hubble Space Telescope. Image credit: NASA and Ann Field (Space Telescope Science Institute) & Avery E. Broderick (Perimeter Institute & University of Waterloo).
UKIRT discovers 'impossible' binary stars: A team of astronomers have used the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) on Hawaii to discover four pairs of stars that orbit each other in less than 4 hours. Until now it was thought that such close-in binary stars could not exist. The new discoveries come from the telescope's Wide Field Camera (WFCAM) Transit Survey, and appear in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Image credit: J. Pinfield.
"Once in a Lifetime Opportunity" Science Planned on the JCMT During the Transit of Venus: The James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) on Mauna Kea in Hawaii, is one of the few telescopes in the world capable of directly observing the planet Venus as it transits across the face of the Sun, and it plans to take full advantage of this last opportunity for 115 years. Image credit: Pat Durrell / JAC.
Dusty stellar nurseries from the dark side of a galaxy: The first result from the JCMT Nearby Galaxy Legacy Survey is a stunning image of the galaxy M66 as it appears at the sub-mm wavelengths. The image shows sub-mm emission detected by SCUBA-2 overlaid on an image of the galaxy taken in visible light. Credit: VLT/ESO, JAC, G. Bendo.

New SCUBA-2 camera reveals wild youth of the universe: The SCUBA-2 camera has taken a snap shot of what the early Universe looked like over 10 billion years ago. The seven sources identified correspond to massive, clumpy, violently star-forming disc galaxies. In the images to the right we see images of the same region observed by the Herschel space telescope (left), SCUBA-2 (middle) and Hubble (right). Credit: ROE / JAC

Revolutionary new camera reveals the dark side of the Universe: A composite image of the Whirlpool Galaxy (also known as M51) taken by the new SCUBA-2 camera on the JCMT. The green image is from the Hubble Space Telescope and shows the optical wavelength. The submillimetre light detected by SCUBA-2 is shown in red (850 microns) and blue (450 microns). The Whirlpool Galaxy lies at an estimated distance of 31 million light years from Earth in the constellation Canes Venatici. Credit: JAC / UBC / NASA

The most distant quasar: Both headache and opportunity: An international team of astronomers announced the discovery of the most distant known supermassive black hole, seen as a luminous quasar caused by gas falling into the black hole. The discovery came to light using data from an ongoing infrared sky survey being conducted at the UKIRT and critical follow-up confirmation observations with the Gemini North telescope. Image credit: Gemini Observatory / AURA by Lynette Cook

Astronomy Resources & Activities


  • Class room teaching tools on the Teacher Resources Page
  • Classroom activities from NASA -
  • How to respond to questions that the world will end in 2012 found here
  • The Great Annual Mars Hoax - the truth is here (Mutating Mars Hoax NASA website)
  • OnlineSchools Space study guides - Space Science for Kids
  • Online astronomy activities & calculators - exploratorium

    Posters for the Classroom
    Electromagnetic Spectrum Hawaiian Style (2010, PDF, 7.0 MB, created by our Summer 2010 Huiana Intern)
    Our Solar System (2010, PDF, 1.6 MB, created by our Summer 2010 Huiana Intern)
    Careers at Astronomical Observatories (2009, PDF, 24.0 MB)


  • Make your own model JCMT telescope
  • Try our AstroQuiz Challenge - what level are you?
  • See the Center of our Milky Way in all its glory, courtesy of the Wide Field Camera of UKIRT (click to zoom in)
  • See what its like to observe on UKIRT with our simulator!
  • Online games from NASA - here
  • Get involved with real research at Galaxy Zoo
  • Telescope FAQs

  • Careers

    It takes all sorts of people from various backgrounds to run a telescope. Click on the links below to discover the various careers at the Joint Astronomy Centre, and if you are interested, how to become an astronomer.

    Example Careers at the JAC
    Careers poster (pdf)
    Local astronomy Clubs
    Astronomy careers FAQs
    AAS Careers in Astronomy Page
    Current Vacancies at the JAC

    Images & Publications

    SCUBA-2 Image Gallery (NEW)
    JCMT Newsletter
    UKIRT Newsletter
    JAC Annual Report 2009/10 (PDF, 20.0 MB)

    Gallery Click above for the JAC Image Gallery:

    Contact: JAC outreach. Updated: Thu Sep 18 15:04:21 HST 2014

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