Koyama Astronomical Observatory
a symbol of the university producing world-class research
The Araki Telescope—the largest telescope at a private university in Japan
Koyama Astronomical Observatory is a landmark institute at Kyoto Sangyo University, built as an extension of the educational spirit of the university’s founder, Dr. Toschima Araki. The observatory was established in 2010 with the aim of contributing to society based on astronomical research and education and the collaboration of industry and academia, by integrating the observatory’s functions with the local region and industry.
Koyama Astronomical Observatory is equipped with the Araki Telescope, an optical and near-infrared reflecting telescope with an aperture of 1.3 meters (with light-gathering power 50,000 times greater than the naked eye) that is the largest telescope at a private university in Japan. Many kinds of observational instruments mounted to the telescope are used for astronomical research and education. The observatory also has many kinds of equipment used for the development of observational instruments.
The observatory is used to teach technical subjects in the Faculty of Science and Division of Science, plus interdepartmental courses and teacher-training courses. In the area of research, the Araki Telescope is used to search for planetary bodies outside our solar system, and to research the formation of planetary systems including our solar system. The observatory also promotes the development of astronomical observational instruments with the highest performance in Japan, including near-infrared high-dispersion spectrometers.
Public use of the observatory is encouraged in many ways
The university has positioned the astronomical observatory as a facility that should benefit the wider community, so its use is sanctioned for researchers and students from both inside and outside the university, and also for local residents.
A public stargazing event is held every Saturday night for local citizens and children to provide a close-up look at the universe. Many kinds of astronomy courses are also held for both university students and people from outside the university. To deepen the university’s ties to the local community, among the activities being held are a planetarium program being jointly produced with the adjacent science museum and an experiential learning course in astronomy. Collaboration with industry is another goal, so the many types of measuring instruments at the observatory are available for public inspection.
More extended use of Koyama Astronomical Observatory in the future will serve to enhance research and education and the university’s position within society.