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Made in Wales: Astronomers launch new large teaching telescope

20 October 2008

Cardiff University has unveiled a new large optical telescope for use by students and the public.

CHANT - the Cardiff Half-metre Newise Telescope - has enormous capability for carrying out astronomy, even through the bright night skies of Cardiff.

Its size makes it equal to the largest of any UK university teaching telescope, and enables a level of image quality unparalleled by similar sized telescopes of more conventional designs, providing Cardiff with a very powerful tool for the teaching of practical astronomy.

The telescope's ultra-large half-metre diameter mirror makes it ideal for looking at faint stars, planets and distant galaxies.

Next year marks the International Year of Astronomy 2009, when the telescope will be used for public viewing on Open Evenings throughout the year.

Professor Derek Ward-Thompson, observatory director, said: `This is a fantastic opportunity for our students to learn astronomy on what is essentially a research-class telescope. It will also be a marvellous resource for the general public. They will be able to come and look through a state of the art astronomical telescope. We very much hope that as many people as possible will take the chance to come along and look through the telescope on our Open Evenings throughout 2009.'

Built by a Conwy-based firm, Zerochromat, headed by optician Peter Wise, the design is based around a Newtonian format, and hence is known as a Newise (Newtonian-Wise) telescope.

The design of the telescope is highly novel. It is a variant on a Schmidt camera, with a Newtonian eye-piece. It has a spherical primary mirror and flat secondary mirror, but with sub-diameter lenses before and after the secondary mirror to correct any optical errors over a wide field of view.

The opening of the new telescope will take place on Friday 24th October at 3.30pm in the School of Physics and Astronomy, Cardiff University.

Further Information:

Professor Derek Ward-Thompson

School of Physics and Astronomy

Cardiff University


Cardiff University Astronomy Observatory web page:

New Telescope web page:

Zerochromat web page: