Canon USA 120 introduces the EF 400mm F2.8 Dragonfly Telephoto Array Expansion Lens: Digital Photography Review

Canon USA announced that the company will provide technical assistance to Project Dragonfly, an international research team from Yale University and the University of Toronto, in its plan to expand the Dragonfly Telephoto Array.

The Dragonfly Telephoto Array is a telescope concept designed to capture images of extremely faint structures in the night sky. The structures are believed to provide insight into the distribution and nature of dark matter.

Canon USA will supply the team with a super-telephoto lens with a large aperture of the 120 Canon EF 400mm F2.8L IS II USM. Canon Inc. will provide. Also technical assistance. The zoom array currently consists of 48 Canon EF 40mm F2.8L IS II USM lenses awarded to the team in 2013 and 2015. The lenses are arranged in two groups of 24. The additional 120 lenses will greatly enhance the array’s capabilities.

Canon EF 400mm F2.8L IS II USM

According to Cannon, the 168 lenses will create a telescope array with “a light-gathering capability equivalent to that of a refracting telescope with a diameter of 1.8 meters and a focal length of only 40 cm”. It will be interesting to see what the team can discover with the larger telescope’s array and improved capabilities. In 2016, the team discovered the super-spreading galaxy Dragonfly 44. In 2018, they identified a galaxy that lacks dark matter NGC 1052-DF2.

Close-up Dragonfly Array installed in New Mexico – Photo by Peter van Dokkum, Yale University

“Canon is committed to contributing to the advancement of science and technology by leveraging the technological strengths it has developed as a leading imaging company,” adds Canon.

The Dragonfly Telephoto Array is the preeminent scanning telescope for finding faint objects scattered across the night sky. It has enabled the discovery of ultra-diffuse galaxies and other phenomena with low surface brightness – rendering images that deepen our understanding of how galaxies form and provide key insights into the nature of dark matter. The primary array is equipped with 48 Canon EF 400mm telephoto lenses that feature an anti-reflective coating that mitigates the effects of light scattering, overcoming the limitations of conventional telescopes in detecting faint structures. ‘The lenses are coupled with monolithic broadband detectors that allow for excellent error control,’ said Professor Peter van Dokkum of Yale University.

The image was taken with the Dragonfly Telephoto Array. Moon appears wide – Photo by Peter van Dokkum, Yale University

Van Dokkum continues, “` By adding 120 of these lenses, in a newly developed configuration that allows the use of extremely narrow filters, Dragonfly will be the most powerful wide-field spectral mapping machine in existence. The main goal of the next iteration of the Dragonfly array is to discover and study the faint gas believed to exist around and between galaxies. By opening this new window on the universe, Dragonfly will address some of the most important questions in astrophysics today.

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