Tom Barnes and Caty Pilachowski
Again for the 2001A semester, observers may request time on the 9.2-m (effective aperture) Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET) at McDonald Observatory, under an agreement with the National Science Foundation.
Proposals should be submitted through NOAO using the standard NOAO proposal form. Proposals will be reviewed by the NOAO TAC, and those approved will be forwarded to the HET for queue-scheduling. For further details concerning the use of HET for observations and the preparation of observing proposals, see NOAO's Web pages for HET information (http://www.noao.edu/gateway/het/).
During the 2000B semester, the amount of time devoted to science observations on the HET will be scaled back from 14 to 10 nights per month to concentrate engineering efforts on the improvement of image quality. This increase in engineering time follows encouraging developments in image quality improvement and recognizes that all science observations are hamstrung by poor image quality. The commissioning of instruments will take second priority during the semester, and the acquisition of science data will be the HET's third priority. Observations through the NSF Public Access programs will continue through the 2000B semester, however. The NOAO TAC recommended several programs to forward to the HET for observations, and the investigators are, as of this writing, preparing their Phase II programs, which NOAO will forward to the HET staff.
Instrumentation available on the HET in the 2001A semester will be the Marcario Low Resolution Spectrometer (LRS) and the High Resolution Spectrometer (HRS). These are described in NOAO Newsletter, No. 60, and at http://www.noao.edu/gateway/het/. The LRS is a grism spectrometer with imaging and long-slit modes in operation now. The field of view is 4' in diameter. The two grisms provide resolving powers of 600 and 1300 in wavelength regions 410-1000 nm and 430-740 nm, respectively. The LRS has achieved 1.6" images on the HET, although imaging in the 2.0"-2.5" range is more typical at this time. Researchers planning to use the LRS are asked to consult current performance measures documented at http://www.noao.edu/gateway/het/. Upgrades to the instrument, including electronics and a new CCD, are planned this summer.
Commissioning of the HRS is also planned this summer, but may slip until September. The HRS is a fiber-fed spectrometer with resolving powers of 30,000, 60,000, and 120,000 by means of three slit widths. Spectral coverage is 420-1100 nm. Projected performance characteristics of the HRS are available at http://www.noao.edu/gateway/het/ and will be updated as commissioning proceeds.