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NOAO Newsletter - KPNO Operations - March 2000 - Number 61


From the KPNO Director --- Evolution of the IR Instrument Complement on Kitt Peak

Richard Green, for the KPNO Staff

As Gemini North is about to start its scientific operation, KPNO is beginning to deploy a new generation of IR instruments that exploit wide field of view. The first is the new incarnation of SQIID, the Simultaneous Quad Infrared Imaging Device, which has now been retrofitted with 4 InSb arrays from the ALADDIN development program. The optics will illuminate the inscribed circles of the 512 square quadrants. SQIID is now upgraded with science-grade arrays and is undergoing lab testing. Telescope testing is scheduled for late February.


Caption: SQIID, with new detectors to simultaneously image 3.3' of the sky in J, H, K, and Lī, returns to KPNO in 2000B.

For Semester 2000B, SQIID will be the primary near-IR imager on both the 4-meter and 2.1-meter telescopes. It offers 0.39"/pixel on the 4-meter for a circular field of view of 3.3' diameter with broad-band J,H, and K filters, as well as a 3.28-m narrow-band L filter. On the 2.1-meter, the scale is 0.68"/pixel with a circular field 5.8' in diameter.

You may propose for IRIM as your primary instrument only if your program requires narrow-band filters. Please do, however, state in your SQIID proposal whether IRIM is acceptable as a backup, in case we have opportunity to schedule IR imaging on two telescopes at once.

The advent of SQIID marks the completion of our arrangement with Ohio State University for the shared use of ONIS, their imager and spectrograph employing an NOAO ALADDIN InSb array. We feel that this agreement has worked strongly to the mutual benefit of NOAO and MDM users. The conscientious, capable, and cooperative support of the OSU staff has enabled us to offer a state-of-the-art instrument with good reliability and excellent technical backup.

A comparably large change in near-IR spectroscopic capabilities is underway. Phoenix will be moving South, either to Gemini or to CTIO, as recommended by the Users Committee. Its exact deployment is not currently settled, but it will be in transit and remodeling during Semester 2000B, and therefore unavailable for proposals. CRSP proposals will be accepted for the 4-meter only. There is a slight chance that CRSP will be wanted on an interim basis for early science with Gemini North. At this time, our best advice is to submit your CRSP proposal anyway, as the instrument will most likely be offered on the Kitt Peak 4-meter for Semester 2000B.

The exciting new prospect for imaging and spectroscopy is FLAMINGOS, the Florida Multi-Object Infrared Grism Observational Spectrometer. Richard Elston (Florida) reports that the mechanical and optical assembly is progressing well, easily on schedule for the first engineering run at Kitt Peak in July. The instrument design is based on a 20482 HgCdTe array from Rockwell, with a scale of 0.3"/pixel on the 4-meter at f/8. The dewar will contain three wheels, one with Lyot stops, one with filters for the J,H, and K bands, and one with grisms, planned for resolutions from 1000 to 4000. A small, separate dewar at the front of the instrument will accommodate 10 cold slit masks for multi-object spectroscopy.

FLAMINGOS will be available at the 2.1-meter as well, affording a field of view some 20' on a side. It will be shared with at least one other observatory besides KPNO, so its maximum availability will be somewhat under 50%. The pacing item for its deployment is the new detector array. KPNO is currently anticipating first scientific use in Semester 2001A. Watch the website and subsequent Newsletters for updates. Once FLAMINGOS is part of the instrument complement, IRIM is likely to be retired from service.

Finally, KPNO is exploring collaboration with the Space Telescope Science Institute and Goddard Space Flight Center for moderate resolution, multi-object spectroscopy. The goal is to produce a prototype operation of micro-mirror arrays as programmable multi-object masks. A preliminary design review is anticipated this spring.


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