The first IRCAM (Infra Red Camera) was commissioned on UKIRT (link opens in a new window) in 1986. Designed and built at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh it was one of the first cameras in the world to use the then new 62x58 pixel indium antimonide infrared detector arrays. IRCAM operated in the 1-5 micrometre region of the electromagnetic spectrum.
In 1994 IRCAM was upgraded by the ROE to accommodate a new 256x256 detector. With its 256x256 detector array and new controller named ALICE (Array Limited Infrared Control Electronics) the new IRCAM/ALICE combination was very successful. It was one of the most used instruments on UKIRT, providing data for hundreds of research papers on topics from origins of distant galaxies to comets flying rapidly past the earth.
IRCAM was used for the last time in August 2002 in an international multi-telescope campaign to observe the occultation of a star known as P131.1 by Pluto. The goal of the observations was to look for changes in Pluto's (predominantly nitrogen) atmosphere, as well as to measure Pluto's size.
IRCAM has now been replaced by UIST which was designed and built at the UK ATC and commissioned on UKIRT in autumn 2002.
For more information about IRCAM please visit the UKIRT web pages (link opens in a new window).