WIYN Observatory

The WIYN Observatory supports the current and future research and education needs of its scientists by operating and maintaining the WIYN facilities at a superb level of performance, and by developing opportunities to enable frontier astrophysical research.

Continuing Community Access to WIYN Through NOAO

Two federal agencies, NASA and NSF, have joined together to continue community access to WIYN through a program of research related to exoplanets known as NN-EXPLORE. NN-EXPLORE will be managed on behalf of the federal agencies by NOAO, which will remain a WIYN partner.

Phase 1 of this program will offer access to WIYN's existing suite of instruments for exoplanet related research. This will launch in the 2015B semester, which has just been scheduled.

Phase 2 will entail the design, construction, and deployment on WIYN of a NASA-funded Extreme Precision Doppler Spectrometer (EPDS), as detailed in the announcement of opportunity. NASA's goal is to have the instrument operational on WIYN during fiscal year 2018, commensurate with the anticipated onset of data flow from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission. This program is described in a recent NOAO press release.

NASA has selected two instrument concepts for the new EPDS instrument to study in detail. The selected instrument concepts were proposed by teams from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Pennsylvania State University. For more information please see the official announcement.

Science News from WIYN

Steven Janowiecki (Indiana University) et al used WIYN-pODI to discover an ultra-low surface brightness galaxy in a huge HI cloud approximately 25 Mpc away. The ALFALFA survey identified this HI source as having almost as much gas mass as nearby spiral galaxy M33, but with no visible optical counterpart in SDSS imaging. With deep images from WIYN-pODI, they discoverd an extremely faint blue galaxy at the center of the hydrogen cloud. This galaxy has the most extreme gas-mass-to-light ratio ever measured with this precision, and has a peak surface brightness of only 26.4 mag/arcsec in g'. It may be an example of a galaxy which has just started to form stars out of its gas, or a galaxy which has only experienced a small amount of star formation due to quenching or other processes inhibiting gas collapse.

Read more about this exciting discovery with pODI or read the full paper as published in ApJ.

 

ODI Update: 5x5 Upgrade Has Begun

The long anticipated ODI upgrade has begun! We are adding 17 new detectors to the existing 13 detectors in the ODI focal plane. By rearranging the current detectors and adding new ones, the scientifically useful field of view of ODI will increase from the current 24' x 24' to approximately 40' by 48' on the sky. Yes, that is almost a 1 degree diagonal, so we can rightfully call our instrument the "One Degree Class Imager".

Just before Thanksgiving the ODI dewar was removed from the telescope and, subsequently, the focal plane was extracted in the clean room. In January, the new detectors were installed at the University of Arizona's Imaging Technology Laboratory and the upgraded focal plane has now returned to NOAO.

Installation, dewar refurbishment, and extensive detector optimization will take us to mid May, when ODI will ship back to Kitt Peak. Installation of ODI will begin just after Memorial Day. First light and commissioning throughput will occur in June 2015, allowing for first shared risk science data to be taken with 5x5 ODI in July 2015.

Up-to-date status reports on the ODI upgrade can be found in the ODI Status Update.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more information as the ODI upgrade project progresses.

WIYN Consortium Seeks New Partners

The WIYN Consortium, which operates the 3.5-m WIYN telescope on Kitt Peak in Arizona, is seeking new partners to join the consortium. Our immediate goal is to secure the future operations of the WIYN 3.5-m telescope.

For additional information, view the Potential Partner Information or contact John Salzer (slaz at astro.indiana.edu).

Last modified: 20-Jul-2015 12:04:18 MST