Okayama Astrophysical Observatory (OAO) was founded as a branch of Tokyo Astronomical Observatory in 1960. It has the 188cm telescope which was constructed by Grubb-Parsons Inc. as the primary telescope, and also has three other telescopes, the 91cm telescope,the 65cm solar telescopeand the 50cm telescope.OAO has been the center of Japanese optical and infrared astronomical observation.
In 1988 Tokyo Astronomical Observatory was switched over to National Astronomical Observatory(NAOJ).The telescopes and facilities of OAO have been formally open for Japanese astronomers since the organization transition. According to an observation program which is made for various purposes of astronomical research, many observational investigations are performed at OAO at present.
The observation targets range over a wide field in astronomical objects; the solar system objects like planets or comets, Galactic objects like stars, star clusters, or nebulae, galaxies,clusters of galaxies, or very distant objects like quasars. Astronomers make imaging observation,spectroscopy, or photometory to investigate positions, brightnesses, kinematics, physical states,or chemical compositions of such various objects in detail.
Astronomical researchers all over the world can submit observing proposals for the OAO 188cm telescope. Please refer Call for proposals page.
OAO is located a top of Mt. Chikurin-Ji (its elevation is 372 meters) in the southwestern region of Okayama prefecture. We have many fine nights around Mt. Chikurin-Ji (120 fine nights in a year)and the astronomical seeing at OAO is fairly good (typical image size of stars is 1.4 arcseconds). Mt. Chikurin-Ji is the best astronomical site in Japan. OAO also plays an important role in the world-wide network of astronomical observation as a 2 meter class telescope facility in Asia.
There are approximately fifteen staff members in the observatory. We are working on astronomical research,on maintenance and development of the telescopes and the observational instruments, or on open-use management. We introduce state-of-the-art technology of computers and electronics to control the telescopes remotely or to develop new observation instruments.
Astronomers are able to make highly accurate, high resolution observations efficiently using the OAO facility. This is supported by continuous effort of instrumentation and maintenance at OAO.
OAO remains one of the most important astronomical observatory in Japan, and the research activity of OAO will go further in order to reveal the nature of our universe.