Chelmsford, England and Flagstaff, AZ--The first images taken with the e2v imaging sensors that equip the flagship Discovery Channel Telescope at the Lowell Observatory were released on July 21. The DCT is a 4.3 m aperture telescope built by Lowell Observatory and the Discovery Channel and is located in Coconino National Forest, AZ. It is Lowell’s flagship research telescope and astronomers will use the DCT to answer fundamental questions about our universe such as how did our solar system form and how did dwarf galaxies evolve.A state-of-the-art 4k x 4k high-performance e2v imaging sensor was used in the DCT to take these "first light" images. Following on from that, Lowell is developing the Large Monolithic Imager (LMI), which will be the telescope’s primary optical imager and is equipped with e2v's 6k x 6k CCD231-C6 imaging sensor. This device was developed for the LMI with funding from e2v and the National Science Foundation. The imaging sensor is back-thinned for high sensitivity, has a large (92 x 92 mm) format and a precision package to provide a flat focal plane at cryogenic operating temperature. LMI will be used for a wide range of observations including solar system work on Kuiper belt objects and comets, observations of extra solar planet transits, massive stars in our Galaxy and star formation in remote galaxies.
Paul Jorden, technical specialist at e2v said, "e2v has supplied Lowell Observatory with imaging sensors for numerous instruments over the years and we are excited to have supplied high performance sensors for the new Discovery Channel Telescope, the 5th largest telescope in continental USA. This is a cutting edge telescope and we are looking forward to seeing the future discoveries made possible by our e2v imaging sensor."