KISO Obs. Picture


Kiso Observatory was founded in 1974 as the fifth branch observatory of the Tokyo Astronomical Observatory, University of Tokyo, which is one of the Japanese national universities that belong to the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture (MESC). The main objectives of Kiso Observatory stated at the time of foundation were `observational researches of various astronomical objects in and outside our Galaxy with the 105~cm Schmidt telescope, and observation of the night sky light. ' It was also stated that `research facilities of Kiso Observatory shall be open to visiting astronomers as well as to the staff and students of the University of Tokyo.' Ever since, Kiso Observatory has been accepting visiting astronomers who want to use its research facilities.

On July 1, 1988, Kiso Observatory was reformed as a university observatory belonging to the Institute of Astronomy, Faculty of Science, University of Tokyo, when the Tokyo Astronomical Observatory was removed from the University of Tokyo to be reorganized as a new institution, the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) operated directly by MESC. Kiso Observatory is open to astronomers in both domestic and foreign institutions. This is because the facilities at Kiso are of primary importance in many fields of astronomy. The principle of common use of important facilities is encouraged by MESC, and a limited amount of travel expenses for astronomers from domestic institutions was granted at the time of the reform.

Reasearch Activities

105cm Schdmit Telescope

Researches at Kiso Observatory have been primarily based on the 105cm Schmidt telescope and related facilities installed in 1974, but continuous efforts have been made to enhance research facilities and activities. An image data processing system was introduced in 1985, and large coordinated efforts were devoted to the development of a software package for interactive astronomical image data processing. Visiting astronomers who used the image data processing system increased continuously since 1986.

Photographic imaging was virtually a sole method of observation for two decades at Kiso since the opening of Kiso Observatory. However, in need of deeper images to study the distant and faint objects, the observatory started to develop a CCD camera in 1987. In 1993, a CCD camera with 1024x1024 pixels was made available to visiting astronomers. Subsequently the development of a larger CCD camera with 2040x2040 pixels was completed in 1997. It covers a wide view of 50'x50' on the focal plane of the Schmidt telescope enabling the observers to make a quick and deep imaging. They were widely accepted by Kiso users as new major tools to investigate the deep sky objects.

Although infrared imaging arrays is now one of the main tools for the modern astronomy, it has never been used in wide field observations. After an intense survey of the capabilities of the Schmidt telescope in the near-infrared wavelengths, it was decided that design and construction of an infrared camera should start at Kiso Observatory. Construction of a proto-type camera started in 1993 and was finished successfully in 1995. This camera has been available since 1996 by the visiting astronomers.

Another method to effectively use a wide field of view of the Schmidt telescope is the multi-object spectroscopy. A plausibility study of this type of observation started this year.

The emergence of new instruments, the 2KCCD and PtSi cameras, required a new control and data-acquisition system for the Schmidt observations. The control system based on the old personal computer has been replaced by a more sophisticated one with a modern work station network. Another big change about the computer network was the installation of the optical fiber in the Kiso Observatory. Now, the Observatory is connected to internet with 64 kps cable.

On the other hand, we cannot overlook the aging of our facilities either, some of which were installed 25 years ago, at the opening of Kiso Observatory. Continued efforts will be required in the future to maintain the telescope in good working condition.

Applications to the Kiso Observatory

Kiso Observatory invites research programs on a yearly basis (April - March). However, important programs could be accepted at any time. Scheduling of the facilities is made quarterly. The principal investigators and collaborators of the accepted research programs are asked to submit proposals of visiting date to the Observatory every quarter of a year to carry out the programs. The Observatory adjusts their schedules to grant time for use of the Schmidt, image data processing system, dark rooms, and plate measuring machines. Then, the fixed schedule is notified to the principal investigators who proposed visiting Kiso are notified of the fixed schedule. Deadlines for proposals of visits for Apr. - May, Jun. - Sep., Oct. - Dec., and Jan. - Apr. are 20 Feb., 20 May, 20 Aug., and 20 Nov., respectively. A Users' Manual (written in Japanese) is available on request.

Committee, Meetings, Publications

Annual Report of the Kiso Observatory (1998)

Principles related to the common use of Kiso Observatory are discussed in the Kiso Users' Committee. Symposia which are closely related to the research projects at Kiso include `Schmidt Symposium' held around August each year, the `NAOJ Okayama and Dodaira Users' Meeting', and the `Symposium on Astronomical Technology. ' The latter two are also held every year. A Newsletter `Kiso Tenkai' (written in Japanese) is published quarterly, at the beginning of February, May, August and November. Report of the Kiso Observatory was published until 1988 as 15 issues of `Kiso Information Bulletin' (KIB); Vol. 1, No. 1 was published in June 1979, and the last issue Vol. 2, No. 5 in March 1988. KIB was succeeded at the time of the reform by a new series of `the Annual Report of the Kiso Observatory', which is published once a year. Although it is a new series of publication, the Annual Report is, in many respects, a continuation of the Kiso Information Bulletin.

Postal Address
Kiso Observatory,
Institute of Astronomy,
The University of Tokyo
Mitake 10762-30, Kiso-machi, Kiso-gun,
Nagano-ken 397-0101

Telephone number

Facsimile number