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NOAO Newsletter - Kitt Peak National Observatory - March 1999 - Number 57


Phoenix to be at Kitt Peak in 1999B!

Future Phoenix Plans

Plans for sharing Phoenix between Gemini, CTIO, and Kitt Peak were discussed at recent meetings of the KPNO/CTIO Users Committee and the Instrument Planning Advisory Committee (IPAC). At the Users Committee meeting a consensus of committee members and NOAO staff was that Phoenix should be deployed to a site for a minimum duration of two years.

NOAO would like to offer Phoenix on the Gemini South telescope starting in 2001 and share it with SOAR in a campaign mode with large blocks of continuous availability on each telescope. Gemini use requires that Phoenix be out of service for one semester for Gemini-related modifications as well as shipment and check out in the Southern Hemisphere. Unfortunately, we have to determine where Phoenix will be during the next two semesters before we have concluded discussions with Gemini.

We have therefore decided to make the optimistic assumption that Gemini will accept our proposal that Phoenix be used on Gemini South. The schedule for Phoenix then will be:

1999A Current semester; out of service (see below)
1999B Offered on Kitt Peak
2000A Offered on Kitt Peak
2000B Out of service for Gemini modifications and shipment
2001-2002 Offered on Gemini South and SOAR

Current Engineering Work

Phoenix was shipped to Tucson in mid-January following nine weeks of scheduled use on the Kitt Peak 4-m and 2.1-m telescopes during the 1998B semester. During February and March 1999, new motors and motor drivers are being installed on the outside of the dewar. The motor drivers will be controlled through Ethernet connections to the Sun instrument control computer. This control configuration will allow much more flexibility in the computer control of individual mechanisms. Users will see an impressive speed up of the mechanisms as well as accurate status reports on each mechanism. The collimator is also being disassembled and the primary collimator mirror will be remounted and realigned. The mounting of the collimator primary is the major suspect in causing the collimator aberrations. It is expected that the motor control and optical realignment phase of the work will take eight weeks. A test run has been scheduled on the 2.1-m telescope in April.

Progress reports on the engineering work will be posted on the Phoenix Web Page http://www.noao.edu/kpno/phoenix/phoenix.html .

Ken Hinkle


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