Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope research facility

The Canada-France-Hawaii observatory hosts a world-class, 3.6-metre optical/infrared telescope. Its headquarters are in Waimea, Hawaii, and the observatory itself is located on the summit ridge of Maunakea, a 4,200-metre dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Our capabilities

Achieving first light in 1979, CFHT was once one of the largest telescopes in the world. Today it continues to provide scientists from around the world capabilities to conduct wide-field optical and infra-red imaging, and high-resolution spectroscopy.

Appointed members from Canada (NRC), France (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) and the University of Hawaii oversee the telescope's governance, through the CFHT Board of Directors, and science, through the CFHT Science Advisory Committee. Canada has a 42.5% share in the CFHT, France has 42.5% and the University of Hawaii has the remaining 15%.

CFHT remains at the forefront of astronomy thanks to the site quality, state-of-the-art instrumentation, and the quality of the services and dedication of its staff.

  • MegaCam, a 1 degree field 0.18" pixel imager.
  • WIRCam, a 0.1 degree field 0.3'' pixel infrared imager.
  • ESPaDOns, an Echelle SpectroPolarimetric Device for high-resolution spectroscopy and polarimetry.
  • SITELLE, a 15' field optical imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer.

CFHT is currently investigating the proposed "Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer", an upgrade to a much larger (10-metre) telescope dedicated to wide-field multi-object spectroscopy.

CFHT data from February 1990 to the present are archived and available for astronomical research from the Canadian Astronomical Data Centre (CADC), a data archive, management and delivery organization supported by NRC and the Canadian Space Agency.

Access and use

In order to use the telescope in the most effective manner to achieve the desired scientific goals, CFHT operates in a queued service mode in which dedicated staff handles all observations from the Waimea headquarters. The observations are prioritized based on peer review of the submitted proposals and then executed under the most suitable atmospheric conditions for each approved program.

The telescope is scheduled on a semester basis for ordinary proposals and semi-annual calls for proposals are issued. Through a special call for proposals, the Observatory also supports Large Programs requiring observing time that extends over several semesters.

Call for observation proposals:

Please refer to CFHT's Proposals Page for information on the submission of proposals and the current deadlines.

Time allocation process

Proposals are reviewed and ranked by the Canadian Time Allocation Committee (CanTAC).