The Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) is operated by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Corporation, located in Waimea (also known as Kamuela), on the island of Hawaii (The Big Island).
The Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Corporation was founded by the National Research Council of Canada, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique of France and the University of Hawaii, and is funded by these three governmental agencies.
The telescope itself is of 3.58 meters aperture. It is located on Mauna Kea at an altitude (declination axis) of 4204 m (13,793 feet), at latitude +19o 49' 41.86" and longitude 155o 28' 18.00". Inauguration ceremonies were held on 28 September 1979, and the first Guest Observers used the telescope in March 1980.
Observing time on the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope is allocated to applicants upon the recommendation of the national agencies and the Time Allocation Committee. Members of this committee are appointed by the Board of Directors of the Corporation with two members from Canada, two from France, and one from Hawaii. The proportion of available observing time allocated to each member organization is currently 42.5% for Canada, 42.5% for France, and 15% for Hawaii. Observing time is made available without charge, except for accommodation and incidentals. The current Semester Observing Schedule is available through the CFHT Home Page.
Apart from regular scientific observing, some nights are used by CFHT personnel for engineering of the telescope and/or its associated instruments. Besides, a number of discretionary nights are directly allocated by the Director. They are often used by CFH staff astronomers - e.g. for familiarization with the telescope/instruments - but can also accommodate outside observers, for instance in case of unexpected astronomical events (targets of opportunity) or in the course of testing new techniques of interest to the Corporation. To request the use of these nights, write directly to the Director. Please note however that the discretionary nights are not intended to give a second chance to programs that could have been submitted in the regular competition or ones that were submitted and were unsuccessful.
This Manual is intended as an aid in familiarization with the observatory and telescope, for both those new to it (as an introduction) and for those familiar with it (as a general overview). More detailed operational/technical manuals are available for all instruments currently in operation and most operational components of the facility.
A manual such as this requires continuous updating; large portions of it become obsolete in a matter of a few years and sometimes a few months. This is done on a regular basis, and new versions will be released at, we hope, quite frequent intervals. In order to achieve this, your help will be invaluable. Please email any contributions, comments or suggestions you may have to the address given below. Figures can be directly incorporated if they are provided as common image files or in AutoCAD format.
The CFHT web site contains the latest information regarding availible instruments, as well as the latest news and other useful information.
Interested astronomers and scheduled observers are invited to consult the "Welcome to CFHT" document, which covers practical arrangements, travel conditions, observing runs, the Hale Pohaku facility, and many more logistical subjects.