In 2014 and 2015 the Multi-Object InfraRed Camera and Spectrograph (MOIRCS) instrument at the Subaru Telescope on Maunakea is underwent a significant modernization and upgrade project. We upgraded the two Hawaii2 detectors to Hawaii2-RG models, modernized the cryogenic temperature control system, and rewrote much of the instrument control software. The detector upgrade replaced the Hawaii2 detectors which use the Tohoku University Focal Plane Array Controller (TUFPAC) electronics with Hawaii2-RG detectors using SIDECAR ASIC (a fully integrated FPA controller system-on-a-chip) and a SAM interface card. We achieved an improvement in read noise by a factor of about 2 with this detector and electronics upgrade. The cryogenic temperature control upgrade focused on modernizing the components and making the procedures for warm up and cool down of the instrument safer. We have moved PID control loops out of the instrument control software and into Lakeshore model 336 cryogenic temperature controllers and have added interlocks on the warming systems to prevent overheating of the instrument. Much of the instrument control software has also been re-written. This was necessitated by the different interface to the detector electronics (ASIC and SAM vs. TUFPAC) and by the desire to modernize the interface to the telescope control software which has been updated to Subaru's "Gen2" system since the time of MOIRCS construction and first light. The new software is also designed to increase reliability of operation of the instrument, decrease overheads, and be easier for night time operators and support astronomers to use.
During the past year, the Multi-Object InfraRed Camera and Spectrograph at Subaru has undergone an upgrade of its science detectors, the housekeeping electronics and the instrument control software. This overhaul aims at increasing MOIRCS' sensitivity, observing efficiency and stability. Here we present the installation and the alignment procedure of the two Hawaii 2RG detectors and the design of a cryogenic focus mechanism. The new detectors show significantly lower read noise, increased quantum efficiency, and lower the readout time.
An infrared instrument used for observation has to keep the detector and optical components in a very cold environment
during operation. However, because of maintenance, upgrades, and other routine work, there are situations that require
the instrument to be warmed-up and then cooled-down again. At Subaru Observatory, our MOIRCS infrared instrument
has required warm-up and cool-down several times a year for routine maintenance and filter replacement. The MOIRCS
instrument has a large heat capacity and cool-down using only the closed cycle cooler is impractical due to the huge
amount of time it would require. To address this problem Subaru engineers have created a mechanism to allow PRE-COOLING
of the instrument via liquid nitrogen - allowing for a much faster pre-cool process. Even with liquid nitrogen,
the pre-cool process requires 10 tanks and almost a week of continual monitoring in order to reach the desired target
temperature. It is very difficult to work for such a long period of time at the oxygen starved summit of Mauna Kea (4205
meters),and issues of man-power and scheduling conflicts only add to the problems. To address these concerns Subaru
developed an automated pre-cooling system which works continuously and remotely at the summit. The strategy was to
have basic functionality for pre-cooling and user friendly interface. i.e. (1) Continuous cooling until the target
temperature is reached by automated liquid nitrogen tank exchanges and precision temperature control by automated
changes to the liquid nitrogen flow. (2) Remote monitoring and control of all parameter setting by Web browser as user
interface (UI). The goal of the Subaru pre-cooling system was to make it both inexpensive and quick to implement by
using existing technologies. The original goal (to cut down on labor and precision temperature control) has been attained
through several pre-cooling and software/hardware modification cycles. We will report on the progress and status of our
pre-cooling experiences in this presentation.
MOIRCS is a new Cassegrain instrument of Subaru telescope, dedicated for wide field imaging and multi-object spectroscopy in near-infrared. MOIRCS has been constructed jointly by Tohoku University and the Subaru Telescope and saw the first light in Sept., 2004. The commissioning observations to study both imaging and spectroscopic performance were conducted for about one year. MOIRCS mounts two 2048 × 2048 HAWAII2 arrays and provides a field of view of 4' x 7' with a pixel scale of 0."117. All-lens optical design is optimized for 0.8 to 2.5 μm with no practical chromatic aberration. Observations confirm the high image quality over the field of view without any perceptible degradation even at the field edge. The best seeing we have obtained so far is FWHM=0."18. A novel design of MOIRCS enables us to perform multi-object spectroscopy with aluminum slit masks, which are housed in a carrousel dewar and cooled to ~ 110 K. When choosing MOS mode, a manipulator pulls out a slit mask from the carrousel into the MOIRCS main dewar and sets it properly at the Cassegrain focus. The carrousel is shuttered by a gate valve, so that it can be warmed and cooled independently to exchange slit-mask sets during daytime. We have tested various configurations of 30 or more multi-slit positions in various sky fields and found that targets are dropped at the centers of slits or guide holes within a dispersion of about 0.3 pixels (0."03). MOIRCS has been open to common use specifically for imaging observations since Feb. 2006. The MOS function will be available in next August.
The design, development, operation and current performance of MOS (multi-object spectroscopy) mode of MOIRCS is described. MOIRCS (Multi-Object Infrared Camera and Spectrograph) is one of the second-generation instruments for the Subaru Telescope and provides imaging and MOS modes with a 4' × 7' field of view for a wavelength range from 0.85 to 2.5 μm. To achieve near-infrared (NIR) MOS up to K-band, MOS mode uses multi-slit masks and a mask exchange system in a cryogenic environment. The masks are housed in a vacuum dewar attached to the MOIRCS main dewar and separated by a large gate valve. The mask dewar is equipped with its own cryogenic cooler and a vacuum pump and is capable of storing eighteen masks. The masks are made of thin aluminum foil. Slits are cut with a laser, with software that corrects for the effects of thermal contraction. The masks are cooled to below 130 K in the mask dewar and transported to the focal plane in the main dewar through the gate valve with a linear motion manipulator. An interlock is equipped on the mask exchange system to secure the cryogenic instrument from accident. Replacing masks can be done in the daytime without breaking the vacuum of the main dewar by isolating the mask dewar with the gate valve. Acquisition occurs by iteratively taking on-sky images through alignment holes on the mask until the rotation and offset between alignment stars and alignment holes become small enough. MOIRCS/MOS mode will be open to the public in late 2006.
MOIRCS (Multi-Object Infrared Camera and Spectrograph) is a new instrument for the Subaru telescope. In order to perform observations of near-infrared imaging and spectroscopy with cold slit mask, MOIRCS contains many device components, which are distributed on an Ethernet LAN. Two PCs wired to the focal plane array electronics operate two HAWAII2 detectors, respectively, and other two PCs are used for integrated control and quick data reduction, respectively. Though most of the devices (e.g., filter and grism turrets, slit exchange mechanism for spectroscopy) are controlled via RS232C interface, they are accessible from TCP/IP connection using TCP/IP to RS232C converters. Moreover, other devices are also connected to the Ethernet LAN. This network distributed structure provides flexibility of hardware configuration. We have constructed an integrated control system for such network distributed hardwares, named T-LECS (Tohoku University - Layered Electronic Control System). T-LECS has also network distributed software design, applying TCP/IP socket communication to interprocess communication. In order to help the communication between the device interfaces and the user interfaces, we defined three layers in T-LECS; an external layer for user interface applications, an internal layer for device interface applications, and a communication layer, which connects two layers above. In the communication layer, we store the data of the system to an SQL database server; they are status data, FITS header data, and also meta data such as device configuration data and FITS configuration data. We present our software system design and the database schema to manage observations of MOIRCS with Subaru.
MOIRCS (Multi-Object InfraRed Camera and Spectrograph) is one of the second generation instruments for the Subaru Telescope. This instrument is under construction by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and Tohoku University. It has imaging and multi-object spectroscopy (MOS) capabilities in the wavelength range from 0.85 μm to 2.5 μm with 4' x 7' F.O.V. The focal plane is imaged onto two 2048 x 2048 pixel HAWAII-2 HgCdTe arrays with a pixel scale of 0."12 pixel-1 through two independent optical trains. The optical design is optimized to maximize K band performance. Unique design of MOIRCS allows multi-object spectroscopy out to K band with cooled multi-slit masks. Twenty-four masks are stored in a mask dewar and are exchanged in the cryogenic environment. The mask dewar has its own vacuum pump and cryogenic cooler, and the masks can be assessed without breaking the vacuum of the main dewar. The two-channel optics and arrays are mounted back-to-back of a single optical bench plate. A PC-Linux based infrared array control system has been prepared to operate HAWAII-2. The first light of MOIRCS is planned in the spring of 2003.
We report on the status of the Cassegrain Instrument Automatic Exchanger (CIAX) control system for the Subaru Telescope. Devices controlled by a shell program in the previous version are now controlled by a macro. It can now be operated safely from remote site. Features of the new system are: 1. New macro. The new macro has two features: (1) Action skip. The macro can skip actions that have been executed earlier. It judges whether to skip by checking the status of devices. Resumption of interrupted macro or reversal from halfway of a process is possible. (2) Macro flexibility: The script has every possible sequential action and chooses actions by checking device status. For instance, it can determine whether the cart is at the telescope or at one of the instrument standby flanges and select a proper hookup command. 2. GUI for macro operation and CGI for rewriting setup files. The new GUI uses a commercial instrument control language. A CGI application accesses setup files. 3. Omni-directional Infrared (IR) LAN. Omni-directional IR LAN is being tested for the cart because radio frequency wireless LAN is prohibited on Mauna Kea to avoid interference to radio telescopes. Conventional IR LAN failed because of its directionality. The CIAX system is now routinely used for instrument exchange. For complete automatic operation, there are still a few tasks left, such as macro-controlled instrument shutdown and restarting, standardizing interfaces and procedure for all instruments and further increasing reliability which is higher already compared to conventional manual exchange.
The CIAX system especially CIAX-3 increased observation efficiency for Cassegrain test instruments at the early phase of Subaru telescope test observation. In order to control this system effectively and automatically, a control software for the entire system of the CIAX was developed. The software design goals are (1) redundancy for robust system, (2) the safety of the instrument by interlocking, (3) maximum efficiency by automatic control and (4) easy user interface for operator. In this paper, we describe the software which has been being tested through the telescope and instrument commissioning phase.
The Cassegrain Instrument Automatic eXchanger (CIAX) system for the 8.2 meter Subaru Telescope moves instruments between the Cassegrain mounting flange and stand-by flanges without manual intervention. Observation efficiency improves not only because of quick exchanges, scheduled or emergency, but also because of increased flexibility in selecting an optimum instrument for weather conditions or observation goals. Reliable and safer instrument exchanges are achieved by the precision mechanical positioning system (less than 0.5 mm) and an automatic connector system for electrical cables, optical fibers and fluid lines. Instrument down time due to connector/cable failure by human error is eliminated. Interfaces to the telescope flange are standardized for all five Cassegrain instruments (approximately 2000 kgf each) currently in use or under preparation.