Subaru can view not only visible light but other forms of light, too. It carries seven devices that allow it to do things like split the light from stars and see the invisible infrared rays that are emitted by all heavenly bodies. Subaru is so powerful that it could see a ping pong ball on the top of Mt. Fuji from Tokyo, 100 kilometers (62.5 miles) away. It can even see previously unknown galaxy clusters 5 billion light years from earth - an unbelievable distance! (One light year is the distance light travels in one year, about 9.5 trillion kilometers or 5.9 trillion miles.)
The universe was born in the Big Bang, which took place between 10 and 20 billion years ago, and it is still expanding. Faraway objects that were formed when the universe was young are moving away from us with speeds proportional to their distance. Subaru demonstrates its power by picking up infrared light rays from these distant objects.
Subaru has already been able to discover a huge cloud of hydrogen gas that is about 115 light years across and is expanding around a galaxy, and it has also succeeded in determining what galaxies looked like soon after the universe was formed. In May 2001 it was announced that Subaru had succeeded in detecting 95% of all the light in the universe emitted by galaxies. This showed that there may be as-yet-unknown sources of light in the universe. The Subaru telescope continues to make discoveries that help us to understand how the universe is made up.