The AKARI spacecraft telescope (formerly known as ASTRO-F), was launched by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on February 21, 2006 by an M-V rocket from the Uchinoura Space Center into a Sun-synchronous low-Earth orbit of altitude 695 km. The AKARI spacecraft is three axis-stabilized and keeps its telescope pointed away from the Earth and thus shaded from Earth's thermal emission, by the bus module of the spacecraft.
AKARI uses a 0.67 m Richey-Chretien telescope and weighed 955 kg at launch. Its primary mission was to survey the entire sky from the near-infrared through to the far-infrared.
Observations at mid-IR to far-IR wavelengths ended in August 2007, when its supply of liquid helium was used up, but observations at near-IR wavelengths continue. AKARI is included here as the grism mode of its infrared camera (IRC) instrument has been used to investigate the D/H ratio on Neptune. These observations are still being analyzed.
Was this article helpful?