Science and research Science and research


Astronomy is a natural science that involves the observation of the extraterrestrial. This field studies near-Earth objects and other astronomical phenomena to help find the answers to the origin of the universe, to understand our solar system and galaxy, and to discover the laws of matter. In astronomy, various imaging technologies are used, such as solar imaging and spectroscopy, to study the sun's activity and Earth's upper atmosphere where auroras occur, for example. Imaging technologies based on image sensors and cameras are utilized at telescopes around the world.

Astronomy camera application case study

Astronomy, a domain buzzing with research aimed at uncovering and investigating uncharted cosmic entities and phenomena, is the focus of this brochure. Inside, you'll find insightful interviews with leading astronomers and a showcase of applications where our cameras excel, each paired with examples demonstrating their effectiveness and relevance in the field.

Our efforts for astronomy

Hamamatsu Photonics has been providing various products for the field of astronomy, such as image sensors for large telescopes and infrared detectors for astronomical satellites. Below are examples of our collaborations with the astronomical community.

Astronomical observation with extremely large telescopes

Large telescopes are used to observe exoplanets and protoplanetary systems, to search for signs of life, and to study the nature of dark energy by directly measuring the universe's expansion.


There are varieties of telescope instrument types, usually classified by the segment of the electromagnetic spectrum they detect. Fortunately, for us, the earth’s atmosphere makes it difficult for some portions of the spectrum to reach earth, such as x-rays and infrared light. In order to detect radiation in space, x-ray telescopes are launched above the earth’s atmosphere. For ground-based optical telescopes, visible light does pass through the atmosphere, allowing them to make observations of visible light from space right on earth.


All of these highly sophisticated telescopes systems use cutting edge sensor technology, allowing scientists to image a wide range of faint and/or fleeting astronomical phenomena in ultra-high resolution. Hamamatsu aims to enable the advancement of astronomy by way of our sensor and calibration technologies.

The Andromeda Galaxy (M31)

Usage examples: CCD image sensors for the Prime Focus Camera of the Subaru Telescope

The Subaru Telescope is an extremely large telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii. One of the world's most powerful telescopes, it is used to measure the history of cosmic expansion and dark energy, and it directly observes the distribution of dark matter.

Our CCD image sensor is used in the Prime Focus Camera for the Subaru Telescope. The CCD sensor has a unique, full-depletion structure and high sensitivity at long wavelengths, making it possible to observe at high resolution a wide range of faint objects that had been impossible to observe with conventional sensors.

Subaru telescope

HAMAMATSU's CCD image sensors are used in parts of the Subaru Telescope.

The most distant galaxy found by the Subaru Telescope (located 12.91 billion light-years away from the Earth)

Subaru Prime Focus Camera

Illuminating the Cosmos: The pivotal role of photonics in astronomy

In the vast and intricate field of astronomy, photonics plays a crucial role, empowering researchers to delve deeper into the cosmos than ever before. Among its many applications, adaptive optics, instrument calibration, solar imaging, and upper atmospheric imaging stand out for their ability to enhance our understanding of the universe.  Together, these applications of photonics in astronomy open new windows into the universe, enabling us to observe, understand, and appreciate the cosmic dance of light and matter across the expanse of space.

Astronomy Adaptive Optics

Adaptive optics

Negating the effects of atmospheric turbulence using high resolution and high speed.

Instrument calibration

Instrument calibration

Efficient and precise calibration of cameras and spectrographs using high brightness and broadband output light sources.

Astronomy Solar Imaging

Solar imaging

Imaging the fast dynamics of the sun with high dynamic range and high resolution.

Astronomy Upper Atmosphere

Upper atmospheric imaging

Detecting the faint and fast dance of light in the sky with high sensitivity and high resolution.

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