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Update 19 April 2021: MuSCAT3 is equipped with diffusers in each channel and a new camera in the zs band. See the Release Notes v 1.3.


MuSCAT3 (Multicolor Simultaneous Camera for studying Atmospheres of Transiting exoplanets) is a four channel simultaneous imager on LCO's 2-meter telescope (FTN) at Haleakala Observatory. It has replaced the Spectral imager in September 2020 and release for Science operations is pending completion of commissioning work. MuSCAT3 is the third instrument in a series of multi-channel imagers designed and constructed by the Astrobiology Center in Tokyo (Japan). The P.I. is Norio Narita.

Observing in four channels at once dramatically improves the effective throughput of the telescope, benefiting all science observations. For some science programs, e.g., following-up exoplanet transit observations, there are specific benefits to obtaining truly simultaneous observations in multiple passbands.

The baseline properties of MuSCAT3 are:

  • Passbands: SDSS g' r' i' zs'. The filters are fixed; there is no filter wheel.
    • There are deployable photonic diffusers for high precision time series photometry.
  • Cameras: Princeton Instruments Pixis 2048B (r') , 2 x Pixis 2048_eX (g' and i'), Sophia 2048BR (zs')
  • Readout modes: simple imaging and asynchronous time series. The exposure time can be defined per channel.
  • Overheads: 180 sec for telescope slew; per readout: 6 / 2.6 seconds ( MUSCAT_FAST mode for Pixis / Sophia camera ). 46 seconds (MUSCAT_SLOW mode).
  • Field of view: ~9.1' x 9.1'
  • Pixel scale: 0.27" / pixel
  • Readnoise: 12 e- ( 17 e- in zs band) in MUSCAT_FAST mode, 3.5 e- in MUSCAT_SLOW mode.
  • Full well: at least 71 ke-, varies by camera from 71 ke- to 120 ke-)
  • Robotic operations in the LCO network.

Acknowledgement of MuSCAT3

All papers based on MuSCAT3 data shall contain the following acknowledgement:

“This paper is based on observations made with the MuSCAT3 instrument, developed by the Astrobiology Center and under financial supports by JSPS KAKENHI (JP18H05439) and JST PRESTO (JPMJPR1775), at Faulkes Telescope North on Maui, HI, operated by the Las Cumbres Observatory."

Publications that use MuSCAT3 Commissioning or Science Validation data (i.e. data acquired with the proposal ID “MuSCAT Commissioning”) must include the members of the MuSCAT3 commissioning team as co-authors. They are:

LCO: Daniel Harbeck, Mark Bowman, Mark Elphick, JD Armstrong, Jacqueline Han, Nikolaus Volgenau, Jon Nation, Elisabeth Heinrich-Josties, Steve Foale, Matt Daily, Curtis McCully, Annie Kirby, Cary Smith, Brian Haworth, Lisa Storrie-Lombardi, Patrick Conway, Joey Chatelain, Etienne Bachelet, Marshall Johnson, Markus Rabus, Fernando Rios, Sarah Rettinger, Wayne Rosing

ABC: Norio Narita, Akihiko Fukui, Tomoyasu Yamamuro, Nobuhiko Kusakabe, Taku Nishiumi, Noriharu Watanabe, Jerome de Leon, Mayuko Mori, John Livingston, Masahiro Ikoma, Motohide Tamura, Seiya Kurita, Kiyoe Kawauchi, Keisuke Isogai


The proper reference for the Muscat 3 instrument to cite is Narita et al. 2020, SPIE 11447, 114475K "MuSCAT3: a 4-color simultaneous camera for the 2m Faulkes Telescope North"

Support Documents

Additional Information

  • The SPIE paper describing the original MuSCAT at Okayama Observatory.
  • The SPIE paper describing MuSCAT2 on the TCS at Teide Observatory.
  • The SPIE paper describing MuSCAT3 at LCO, December 2020

Please direct questions to: