Giving Shape to Ideas

TAO : Unlocking the Mysteries of Distant Stars

  • Running Time: 25min
  • Target Audience: from Kids to Adults
  • Release: 2010
  • Production: Konica Minolta Planetarium


  • Astronomer: Shougen
  • Boy Sherpa: Hikaru Vasayegh

Location shooting at 5,640m (18,500feet) height in Chile

Chile,South America,Atacama Desert,TAO project team of Tokyo University has been constructing the huge infrared telescope on the peak of Mt. Chajnantor. The show merges CG space scenes with powerful and beautiful live-action images including scenes of severe desert and local town San Pedro. The story unfolds as an astronomer working on the project meets a boy Sherpa. Together they watch the stars,trace the constellations and discover a pure fascination for the stars. Based on the interviews for the TAO project members,the story lively depicts the enthusiasm of the astronomer for the stars.

What is TAO Project ?

Tokyo University of Japan has been constructing the 6,500mm(256inch) infrared telescope on the peak of Mt. Chajnantor in the Atacama Desert,Chile. Challenged to search the origins of Planets and the Galaxy,it will be the world's highest observatory at an altitude of 5,640m(18,500feet).

What are infrared telescopes ?

Infrared telescopes are special telescopes that use infrared light to observe celestial bodies that cannot be seen in the visible light.

World's first observation from the ground! Caught a cloud falling to the black holes !

The“Mini” TAO telescope of 1,000mm(40inch),which was completed in 2009,captured the center of the galaxy! (See the picture) This is the world's first observation form the ground! The picture shows a white and bright part extending upward. This is considered a cloud of dust falling down to the black holes at the center of the galaxy. A larger 6,500mm(256inch) infrared telescope is under construction. Observations by the world's most advanced telescope at 5,640m (18,500feet) height are expected to reveal the unknown part of our Universe!

History of TAO Project

Nov. 22,2002 TAO Project team reached the summit of Mt. Chajnantor
Apr.,2006 The road to the summit was opened
Mar. 22,2009 Successful first light observation by the precedent“Mini” TAO telescope of 1,000mm(40inch)
Jun. 9,2009 The world's first observation from the ground,it succeeded in observing the emission lines of hydrogen around the center of the galaxy with the infrared ray camera.
Nov. 8,2009 For the first time in the world from the ground,it succeeded in catching a“mid infrared” of 38 micron wave.
In a few years Construction of the 6,500mm(256inch) infrared telescope will be completed

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