MOCAM is a wide field CCD camera, currently nearing completion, which will be offered to the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) user community in 1995. The project is a collaboration between the CFHT, the Dominion Astronomical Observatory (DAO, Canada), the Institut des Sciences de l'Univers (INSU, France), Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Toulouse (LAT, France) and the University of Hawaii (UH). In the interests of producing a reliable and effective camera in the shortest time, it was decided to use existing technologies rather than innovative ones. Two-edge buttable 2048 × 2048 15 μm pixel CCDs were obtained from the LORAL aerospace foundry, based on a mask designed by J. Geary at Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO). They are mounted in a dewar designed by G. Luppino (UH); the focal plane mounting keeps the mosaic flat to within two pixels and the CCDs are aligned to within two pixels. A mechanical interface designed and fabricated by the DAO holds a 150 mm shutter and a filter wheel which has a positioning repeatability better than five μm.
The four CCDs are operated in parallel by a San Diego GenIII controller adapted by LAT. The mosaic is read out in seven minutes and a single 33 Mb FITS file is generated to enable convenient on-line preprocessing. The user will control the system through a single CFHT Pegasus environment session. The camera field is 14′ × 14′ with a 0.″2 pixel sampling and the readout noise is less than seven electrons. The scientific goals of the initiators of the project are studies of distant clusters, deep galaxy counts and quasars surveys.