Research on Space Science Infrared Imaging Satellite "AKARI" (ASTRO-F)

Operation Completed

About Infrared Imaging Satellite "AKARI" (ASTRO-F)

AKARI: Seeking an understanding of the formation and evolution of galaxies

The AKARI (ASTRO-F) is Japan’s first infrared-ray astronomical satellite to perform "survey observations," an all-sky surveys of infrared sources, including stars and galaxies. The AKARI was launched on February 22, 2006 (Japan Standard Time, JST) from the Uchinoura Space Center (USC) by the M-V-8 Launch Vehicle.

The AKARI was an ambitious mission to perform surveys with far greater sensitivity and higher resolution than the Infrared Astronomy Satellite (IRAS), the world’s first infrared astronomical satellite which had the same purpose and was launched jointly by the United Kingdom, the United States and the Netherlands in 1983.
Observational instruments aboard the AKARI are the Far-Infrared Surveyor (FIS) to observe far infrared rays and the Infrared Camera (IRC) for near- to intermediate- infrared rays. The main purpose of the AKARI project was to understand how galaxies were formed and evolved into what we now see, how stars were born, and how planet systems were formed.

Project Topics

Jan. 20, 2015 Updated

Highly detailed data of far-infrared all-sky image

Highly detailed data of far-infrared all-sky image

A team led by the University of Tokyo compiled a new far-infrared all-sky image using data acquired by the Infrared Astronomical Satellite AKARI. JAXA also cooperated with the team for image data compilation and its publication. The resolution of the compiled data is four to five times better than the previous far-infrared all-sky image, and its observation wave length is also longer. The image data is published on the ISAS site for the use of world researchers. ...

Characteristics of Infrared Imaging Satellite "AKARI" (ASTRO-F)

Achievements by the onboard infrared observation instruments of AKARI

A large portion of infrared light from space does not reach the ground because the Earth’s atmosphere absorbs infrared rays, and, at the same time, emits strong infrared rays. Hence, infrared telescopes have to be lifted above the veiling atmosphere. The AKARI is equipped with a telescope of 68.5-cm caliber. The satellite achieved the extremely high sensitivity by cooling the telescope up to minus 267 degrees Celsius by liquid helium and a cryogenic freezer.
The AKARI operation was completed on Nov. 24, 2011 after exceeding its target mission life of three years. It has marked various infrared-ray astronomical achievements including capturing the first space light from a planet and compiling the all-sky infrared source catalogues (AKARI All-Sky Survey Point Source Catalogues), which cover some 1.3 million planets.

A tremendous amount of data acquired by the AKARI is still useful. In January 2015, the highly detailed far-infrared all-sky image data was released by JAXA/ISAS in cooperation with Japanese universities, including the University of Tokyo, research institutions, and ESA (European Space Agency).

Major Characteristics

International Designation Code 2006-005A
Launch Date 06:28, February 22, 2006 (JST)
Launch Vehicle M-V-8
Location Uchinoura Space Center
Shape 1.9m x 1.9m x 3.7m
5.5m (at deployment of the solar paddles)
Weight Approx. 952 kg (at launch)
Orbiter Circular (Sun-synchronous polar)
Altitude Approx. 750 km
Inclination 98.4 degrees
Period 100 min