PlaneWave Instruments and The Weizmann Institute of Science Announce Partnership for Advanced Astrophysical Research
Posted: July 18, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MICHIGAN, USA & REHOVOT, ISRAEL — We are thrilled to announce that PlaneWave Instruments, a leading manufacturer of high-quality, mid-aperture telescopes, has announced a partnership with the renowned Weizmann Institute of Science. This partnership has the potential to revolutionize affordable astrophysical research and discovery through the combination of Weizmann’s innovative Fiber Optic Coupler design and 20 of PlaneWave’s f/3 Parabolic Prime-Focus telescopes. The collaborative effort with the state-of-the-art distributed-aperture telescope array will enable economically unprecedented spectrographic observations, opening new horizons for deep astronomical science.
As the manufacturable design is complete, PlaneWave will begin production of the first 10 telescopes over the next few months to proceed with installation in the same observatory. After following completion of the second 10-unit production run, all 20 telescopes will work together in unison, as the coupled fiber optics deliver light from each telescope to a pair of spectrographs. These spectrographs will serve numerous scientific objectives and will have the capability to effortlessly switch the fiber input from one spectrograph to another. This allows for efficient flexibility during observation sessions and swift transitions between galactic and extra-galactic scientific pursuits, among others.
The resulting distributed-aperture spectrographic telescope array will act as a single 2.7-meter aperture, relative to its collection area. This approach is remarkably cost-effective, given that a 2.7-meter telescope would cost roughly an order of magnitude more than the twenty 24-inch systems. As the effort continues to develop, we look forward to sharing the groundbreaking achievements Weizmann Institute expects to accomplish with the astronomy community.
Eric Blackhurst, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at PlaneWave Instruments, expresses the company’s eagerness for the groundbreaking project, “This partnership signifies a monumental leap forward in facilitating astronomical science and astrodynamic research. Distributed aperture telescope arrays offer a novel approach and solution to many of the current largest challenges in both fields, allowing lower-cost, higher-availability networks to replace the function of larger, often prohibitively expensive single telescopes. The f/3 Parabolic Prime Focus telescopes, derived from our COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) production telescopes for the institute, will enable their researchers to unlock mysteries of the cosmos not previously explored. PlaneWave is thrilled to be a part of this ambitious endeavor and to support both the Weizmann Institute of Physics and Sagi Ben-Ami in their mission.”
The Weizmann Institute of Science echoes PlaneWave’s enthusiasm. Dr. Sagi Ben-Ami, PI – Weizmann Astrophysical Instrumentation, shares, “We are excited to embark on this journey with PlaneWave Instruments. These highly specialized telescopes will offer us unprecedented access to the universe’s vast expanse and, in turn, allow us to contribute significantly to the global scientific community. The partnership showcases the power of international collaboration in paving the way for groundbreaking discoveries.”
Both PlaneWave Instruments and the Weizmann Institute of Science are excited to see how this state-of-the-art telescope array will impact astrophysical research. This partnership highlights PlaneWave’s mission to solve astronomical problems through the pursuit of the perfect telescope and the Weizmann Institute of Science’s dedication to innovative research.