The Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics (RSAA) of the Australian National University (ANU) at Mt Stromlo Observatory is developing a wide-field Cassegrain Imager for the new 1.3m SkyMapper Survey Telescope under construction for Siding Spring Observatory, NSW, Australia. The Imager features a fast-readout, low-noise 268 Million pixel CCD mosaic that provides a 5.7 square degree field of view. Given the close relative sizes of the telescope and Imager, the work is proceeding in close collaboration with the telescope's manufacturer, Electro Optics Systems Pty Ltd (Canberra, Australia).
The design of the SkyMapper Imager focal plane is based on E2V (Chelmsford, UK) deep depletion CCDs. These devices have 2048 x 4096 15 micron pixels, and provide a 91% filling factor in our mosaic configuration of 4 x 8 chips. In addition, the devices have excellent quantum efficiency from 300nm-950nm, near perfect cosmetics, and low-read noise, making them well suited to the all-sky ultraviolet through near-IR Southern Sky Survey to be conducted by the telescope.
The array will be controlled using modified versions of the new IOTA controllers being developed for Pan-STARRS by Onaka and Tonry et al. These controllers provide a cost effective, low-volume, high speed solution for our detector read-out requirements. The system will have an integrated 6-filter exchanger, and Shack-Hartmann optics, and will be cooled by closed-cycle helium coolers.
This paper will present the specifications, and opto-mechanical and detector control design of the SkyMapper Imager, including the test results of the detector characterisation and manufacturing progress.