The SKA1-LOW radio telescope will be a low-frequency (50-350 MHz) aperture array located in Western Australia. Its scientific objectives will prioritize studies of the Epoch of Reionization and pulsar physics. Development of the telescope has been allocated to consortia responsible for the aperture array front end, timing distribution, signal and data transport, correlation and beamforming signal processors, infrastructure, monitor and control systems, and science data processing. This paper will describe the system architectural design and key performance parameters of the telescope and summarize the high-level sub-system designs of the consortia.
The Gemini South Adaptive Optics Imager (GSAOI) to be used with the Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics (MCAO) system at Gemini South is currently in the final stages of assembly and testing. GSAOI uses a suite of 26 different filters, made from both BK7 and Fused Silica substrates. These filters, located in a non-collimated beam, work as active optical elements.
The optical design was undertaken to ensure that both the filter substrates both focused longitudinally at the same point. During the testing of the instrument it was found that longitudinal focus was filter dependant. The methods used to investigate this are outlined in the paper. These investigations identified several possible causes for the focal shift including substrate material properties in cryogenic conditions and small amounts of residual filter power.
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.
Large-area near-infrared focal-plane detector arrays constructed from one and four Rockwell Science Center HAWAII-
2RG HgCdTe detectors have been characterized for use in the NIFS and GSAOI instruments recently developed for the
Gemini telescopes by the Australian National University. We present details of the detector characterization and
compare the performance of five distinct devices with respect to read noise, dark current, and stability in systems based
on ARC/SDSU Gen-3 controllers. Advanced operating modes of the H2RG were implemented including enhanced
clocking and independent On-Detector Guide Windows for GSAOI. Detector performance using these features and the
impact of multiple guide-window reads on long integrations are explored. We also discuss measurement of intra-pixel
coupling and its impact on pixel-well capacity, gain, and image quality for these devices.
The Institute for Astronomy has developed and recently installed a high-resolution cross-dispersed echelle spectrograph for use at one of the coudé foci of the AEOS 3.7-meter telescope, operated by the Air Force Space Command atop Mt. Haleakala on the island of Maui. The spectrograph features an optical arm for the wavelength range 0.5 - 1.0 μm and an infrared arm for the range 1.0 - 2.5 μm. We review the spectrograph design and present commissioning results obtained with both the visible and infrared arms. Both channels use a white-pupil collimator design to maximize grating efficiency and to limit the size of the camera optics. The visible arm of the spectrograph uses deep-depletion CCDs optimized for operation near 1.0 μm. The infrared detector is a 2048 x 2048 HgCdTe array (HAWAII-2) that has been developed by the Rockwell Science Center for this project. Both channels are equipped with slit-viewing cameras for object acquisition and control of a fast guiding tip-tilt mirror located at a pupil image in the spectrograph fore optics.
The IFA and collaborators are embarking on a project to develop a 4-telescope synoptic survey instrument. While somewhat smaller than the 6.5m class telescope envisaged by the decadal review in their proposal for a LSST, this facility will nonetheless be able to accomplish many of the LSST science goals. In this paper we will describe the motivation for a 'distributed aperture' approach for the LSST, the current concept for Pan-STARRS -- a pilot project for the LSST proper -- and its performance goals and science reach. We will also discuss how the facility may be expanded.
We are developing a high-resolution cross-dispersed echelle spectrograph for installation at one of the coude foci of the new AEOS 3.67 meter telescope, operated by the Air Force Space Command on Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii. The spectrograph will consist of two major subsystems: an optical arm for the wavelength range 0.5-1.0 micrometers and an IR arm for the range 1.0-2.5 micrometers . Both arms of the spectrograph use a white- pupil collimator design to maximize grating efficiency and to limit the size of the camera optics. The optical arm of the spectrograph will use deep-depletion CCDs optimized for operation near 1.0 micrometers . The IR detector will be a 2048 by 2048 HgCdTe array that has bene developed by the Rockwell Science Center for this project. Both the optical and IR arms of the spectrograph will be equipped with slit-viewing cameras for object acquisition and control of a fast guiding tip-tilt mirror located in a pupil image in the spectrograph fore optics.