GIANO-B is the high resolution near-infrared (NIR) spectrograph of the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG), which started its regular operations in October 2017. Here we present GIANO-B Online Data Reduction Software (DRS) operating at the Telescope.
GIANO-B Online DRS is a complete end-to-end solution for the spectrograph real-time data handling. The Online DRS provides management, processing and archival of GIANO-B scientific and calibration data. Once the instrument control software acquires the exposure ramp segments from the detector, the DRS ensures the complete data flow until the final data products are ingested into the science archive. A part of the Online DRS is GOFIO software, which performs the reduction process from ramp-processed 2D spectra to extracted and calibrated 1D spectra.
A User Interface (UI) developed as a part of the Online DRS provides basic information on the final reduced data, thus allowing the observer to take decisions in real-time during the night and adjust the observational strategy as needed.
An overview of the optical design for the SOXS spectrograph is presented. SOXS (Son Of X-Shooter) is the new wideband, medium resolution (R>4500) spectrograph for the ESO 3.58m NTT telescope expected to start observations in 2021 at La Silla. The spectroscopic capabilities of SOXS are assured by two different arms. The UV-VIS (350-850 nm) arm is based on a novel concept that adopts the use of 4 ion-etched high efficiency transmission gratings. The NIR (800- 2000 nm) arm adopts the ‘4C’ design (Collimator Correction of Camera Chromatism) successfully applied in X-Shooter. Other optical sub-systems are the imaging Acquisition Camera, the Calibration Unit and a pre-slit Common Path. We describe the optical design of the five sub-systems and report their performance in terms of spectral format, throughput and optical quality. This work is part of a series of contributions1-9 describing the SOXS design and properties as it is about to face the Final Design Review.
We present the NIR spectrograph of the Son Of XShooter (SOXS) instrument for the ESO-NTT telescope at La Silla (Chile). SOXS is a R~4,500 mean resolution spectrograph, with a simultaneously coverage from about 0.35 to 2.00 μm. It will be mounted at the Nasmyth focus of the NTT. The two UV-VIS-NIR wavelength ranges will be covered by two separated arms. The NIR spectrograph is a fully criogenic echelle-dispersed spectrograph, working in the range 0.80- 2.00 μm, equipped with an Hawaii H2RG IR array from Teledyne, working at 40 K. The spectrograph will be cooled down to about 150 K, to lower the thermal background, and equipped with a thermal filter to block any thermal radiation above 2.0 μm. In this poster we will show the main characteristics of the instrument along with the expected performances at the telescope.
SOXS (Son of X-Shooter) will be the new medium resolution (R~4500 for a 1 arcsec slit), high-efficiency, wide band spectrograph for the ESO-NTT telescope on La Silla. It will be able to cover simultaneously optical and NIR bands (350-2000nm) using two different arms and a pre-slit Common Path feeding system. SOXS will provide an unique facility to follow up any kind of transient event with the best possible response time in addition to high efficiency and availability. Furthermore, a Calibration Unit and an Acquisition Camera System with all the necessary relay optics will be connected to the Common Path sub-system. The Acquisition Camera, working in optical regime, will be primarily focused on target acquisition and secondary guiding, but will also provide an imaging mode for scientific photometry. In this work we give an overview of the Acquisition Camera System for SOXS with all the different functionalities. The optical and mechanical design of the system are also presented together with the preliminary performances in terms of optical quality, throughput, magnitude limits and photometric properties.
Son of X-Shooter (SOXS) will be a high-efficiency spectrograph with a mean Resolution-Slit product of 4500 (goal 5000) over the entire band capable of simultaneously observing the complete spectral range 350-2000 nm. It consists of three scientific arms (the UV-VIS Spectrograph, the NIR Spectrograph and the Acquisition Camera) connected by the Common Path system to the NTT and the Calibration Unit. The Common Path is the backbone of the instrument and the interface to the NTT Nasmyth focus flange. The light coming from the focus of the telescope is split by the common path optics into the two different optical paths in order to feed the two spectrographs and the acquisition camera. The instrument project went through the Preliminary Design Review in 2017 and is currently in Final Design Phase (with FDR in July 2018). This paper outlines the status of the Common Path system and is accompanied by a series of contributions describing the SOXS design and properties after the instrument Preliminary Design Review.
SOXS (Son Of X-Shooter) is a unique spectroscopic facility that will operate at the ESO New Technology Telescope (NTT) in La Silla from 2021 onward. The spectrograph will be able to cover simultaneously the UV-VIS and NIR bands exploiting two different arms and a Common Path feeding system. We present the design of the SOXS instrument control electronics. The electronics controls all the movements, alarms, cabinet temperatures, and electric interlocks of the instrument. We describe the main design concept. We decided to follow the ESO electronic design guidelines to minimize project time and risks and to simplify system maintenance. The design envisages Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) industrial components (e.g. Beckhoff PLC and EtherCAT fieldbus modules) to obtain a modular design and to increase the overall reliability and maintainability. Preassembled industrial motorized stages are adopted allowing for high precision assembly standards and a high reliability. The electronics is kept off-board whenever possible to reduce thermal issues and instrument weight and to increase the accessibility for maintenance purpose. The instrument project went through the Preliminary Design Review in 2017 and is currently in Final Design Phase (with FDR in July 2018). This paper outlines the status of the work and is part of a series of contributions describing the SOXS design and properties after the instrument Preliminary Design Review.
PLATO1 is an M-class mission of the European Space Agency’s Cosmic Vision program, whose launch is foreseen by 2026. PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars aims to characterize exoplanets and exoplanetary systems by detecting planetary transits and conducting asteroseismology of their parent stars. PLATO is the next generation planetary transit space experiment, as it will fly after CoRoT, Kepler, TESS and CHEOPS; its objective is to characterize exoplanets and their host stars in the solar neighbors. While it is built on the heritage from previous missions, the major breakthrough to be achieved by PLATO will come from its strong focus on bright targets, typically with mv≤11. The PLATO targets will also include a large number of very bright and nearby stars, with mv≤8. The prime science goals characterizing and distinguishing PLATO from the previous missions are: the detection and characterization of exoplanetary systems of all kinds, including both the planets and their host stars, reaching down to small, terrestrial planets in the habitable zone; the identification of suitable targets for future, more detailed characterization, including a spectroscopic search for biomarkers in nearby habitable exoplanets (e.g. ARIEL Mission scientific case, E-ELT observations from Ground); a full characterization of the planet host stars, via asteroseismic analysis: this will provide the Community with the masses, radii and ages of the host stars, from which masses, radii and ages of the detected planets will be determined.
SOXS will be a unique spectroscopic facility for the ESO NTT telescope able to cover the optical and NIR bands thanks to two different arms: the UV-VIS (350-850 nm), and the NIR (800-1800 nm). In this article, we describe the design of the visible camera cryostat and the architecture of the acquisition system. The UV-VIS detector system is based on a e2v CCD 44-82, a custom detector head coupled with the ESO continuous flow cryostats (CFC) cooling system and the NGC CCD controller developed by ESO. This paper outlines the status of the system and describes the design of the different parts that made up the UV-VIS arm and is accompanied by a series of contributions describing the SOXS design solutions (Ref. 1–12).
SOXS (Son Of X-Shooter) is a new spectrograph for the ESO NTT telescope, currently in the final design phase. The main instrument goal is to allow the characterization of transient sources based on alerts. It will cover from near-infrared to visible bands with a spectral resolution of R ∼ 4500 using two separate, wavelength-optimized spectrographs. A visible camera, primarily intended for target acquisition and secondary guiding, will also provide a scientific “light” imaging mode. In this paper we present the current status of the design of the SOXS instrument control software, which is in charge of controlling all instrument functions and detectors, coordinating the execution of exposures, and implementing all observation, calibration and maintenance procedures. Given the extensive experience of the SOXS consortium in the development of instruments for the VLT, we decided to base the design of the Control System on the same standards, both for hardware and software control. We illustrate the control network, the instrument functions and detectors to be controlled, the overall design of SOXS Instrument Software (INS) and its main components. Then, we provide details about the control software for the most SOXS-specific features: control of the COTS-based imaging camera, the flexures compensation system and secondary guiding.
The NIR echelle spectrograph GIANO-B at the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo is equipped with a fully automated online DRS: part of this pipeline is the GOFIO reduction software, that processes all the observed data, from the calibrations to the nodding or stare images. GOFIO reduction process includes bad pixel and cosmic removal, flat-field and blaze correction, optimal extraction, wavelength calibration, nodding or stare group processing. An offline version of GOFIO will allow the users to adapt the reduction to their needs, and to compute the radial velocity using telluric lines as a reference system. GIANO-B may be used simultaneously with HARPS-N in the GIARPS observing mode to obtain high-resolution spectra in a wide wavelength range (383-2450 nm) with a single acquisition. In this framework, GOFIO, as part of the online DRS, provides fast and reliable data reduction during the night, in order to compare the infrared and visible observations on the fly.
GIARPS (GIAno and haRPS) is a project devoted to have on the same focal station of the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG) both high resolution spectrographs, HARPS–N (VIS) and GIANO–B (NIR), working simultaneously. This could be considered the first and unique worldwide instrument providing cross-dispersed echelle spectroscopy at a resolution of 50,000 in the NIR range and 115,000 in the VIS and over in a wide spectral range (0.383−2.45 μm) in a single exposure. The science case is very broad, given the versatility of such an instrument and its large wavelength range. A number of outstanding science cases encompassing mainly extra-solar planet science starting from rocky planets search and hot Jupiters to atmosphere characterization can be considered. Furthermore both instruments can measure high precision radial velocities by means the simultaneous thorium technique (HARPS–N) and absorbing cell technique (GIANO–B) in a single exposure. Other science cases are also possible. GIARPS, as a brand new observing mode of the TNG started after the moving of GIANO–A (fiber fed spectrograph) from Nasmyth–A to Nasmyth–B where it was re–born as GIANO–B (no more fiber feed spectrograph). The official Commissioning finished on March 2017 and then it was offered to the community. Despite the work is not finished yet. In this paper we describe the preliminary scientific results obtained with GIANO–B and GIARPS observing mode with data taken during commissioning and first open time observations.
SOXS (Son Of X-Shooter) will be a spectrograph for the ESO NTT telescope capable to cover the optical and NIR bands, based on the heritage of the X-Shooter at the ESO-VLT. SOXS will be built and run by an international consortium, carrying out rapid and longer term Target of Opportunity requests on a variety of astronomical objects. SOXS will observe all kind of transient and variable sources from different surveys. These will be a mixture of fast alerts (e.g. gamma-ray bursts, gravitational waves, neutrino events), mid-term alerts (e.g. supernovae, X-ray transients), fixed time events (e.g. close-by passage of minor bodies). While the focus is on transients and variables, still there is a wide range of other astrophysical targets and science topics that will benefit from SOXS. The design foresees a spectrograph with a Resolution-Slit product ≈ 4500, capable of simultaneously observing over the entire band the complete spectral range from the U- to the H-band. The limiting magnitude of R~20 (1 hr at S/N~10) is suited to study transients identified from on-going imaging surveys. Light imaging capabilities in the optical band (grizy) are also envisaged to allow for multi-band photometry of the faintest transients. This paper outlines the status of the project, now in Final Design Phase.
SOXS (Son of X-shooter) is a wide band, medium resolution spectrograph for the ESO NTT with a first light expected in early 2021. The instrument will be composed by five semi-independent subsystems: a pre-slit Common Path (CP), an Acquisition Camera (AC), a Calibration Unit (CU), the NIR spectrograph, and the UV-VIS spectrograph. In this paper, we present the mechanical design of the subsystems, the kinematic mounts developed to simplify the final integration procedure and the maintenance. The concept of the CP and NIR optomechanical mounts developed for a simple pre- alignment procedure and for the thermal compensation of reflective and refractive elements will be shown.
The Son Of X-Shooter (SOXS)1 is a medium resolution spectrograph (R ~ 4500) proposed for the ESO 3.6m NTT. We present the optical design of the UV-VIS arm of SOXS which employs high efficiency ion-etched gratings used in first order (m = 1) as the main dispersers. The spectral band is split into four channels which are directed to individual gratings, and imaged simultaneously by a single three-element catadioptric camera. The expected throughput of our design is > 60% including contingency. The SOXS collaboration expects first light in early 2021. This paper is one of several papers presented in these proceedings2-10 describing the full SOXS instrument.
Next-generation infrared astronomical instrumentation for ground-based and space telescopes could be based on MOEMS programmable slit masks for multi-object spectroscopy (MOS). MOS is used extensively to investigate astronomical objects optimizing the Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR): high precision spectra are obtained and the problem of spectral confusion and background level occurring in slitless spectroscopy is cancelled. Fainter limiting fluxes are reached and the scientific return is maximized both in cosmology, in galaxies formation and evolution, in stellar physics and in solar system small bodies characterization. We are developing a 2048 x 1080 Digital-Micromirror-Device-based (DMD) MOS instrument to be mounted on the 3.6m Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG) and called BATMAN. A two-arm instrument has been designed for providing in parallel imaging and spectroscopic capabilities. BATMAN will be mounted on the folded Nasmyth platform of TNG. Thanks to its compact design, high throughput is expected. The two arms with F/4 on the DMD are mounted on a common bench, and an upper bench supports the detectors thanks to two independent hexapods. The stiffness of the instrument is guaranteed thanks to a box architecture linking both benches. The volume of BATMAN is 1.4x1.2x0.75 m3, with a total mass of 400kg. Mounting of all sub-systems has been done and integration of the individual arms is under way. BATMAN on the sky is of prime importance for characterizing the actual performance of this new family of MOS instruments, as well as investigating the new operational procedures on astronomical objects (combining MOS and IFU modes, different spatial and spectral resolutions in the same FOV, absolute (spectro-) photometry by combining imaging and spectroscopy in the same instrument, automatic detection of transients …). This instrument will be placed at TNG by beginning-2019.
Son Of X-Shooter (SOXS) is the new instrument for the ESO 3.5 m New Technology Telescope (NTT) in La Silla site (Chile) devised for the spectroscopic follow-up of transient sources. SOXS is composed by two medium resolution spectrographs able to cover the 350-2000 nm interval. An Acquisition Camera will provide a light imaging capability in the visible band. We present the procedure foreseen for the Assembly, Integration and Test activities (AIT) of SOXS that will be carried out at sub-systems level at various consortium partner premises and at system level both in Europe and Chile.
The Multi-AO Imaging Camera for Deep Observations (MICADO), a first light instrument for the 39 m European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), is being designed and optimized to work with the Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics (MCAO) module MAORY (0.8-2.5 μm). The current concept of the MICADO instrument consists of a structural cryostat (2.1 m diameter and 2 m height) with the wavefront sensor (WFS) on top. The cryostat is mounted via its central flange with a direct interface to a large 2.5-m-diameter high-precision bearing, which rotates the entire camera (plus wavefront sensor) assembly to allow for image derotation without individually moving optical elements. The whole assembly is suspended at 3.6 m above the E-ELT Nasmyth platform by a Hexapod-type support structure. We describe the design of the MICADO derotator, a key mechanism that must precisely rotate the cryostat/SCAO-WFS assembly around its optical axis with an angular positioning accuracy better than 10 arcsec, in order to compensate the field rotation due to the alt-azimuth mount of the E-ELT. Special attention is being given to simulate the performance of the derotator during the design phase, in which both static and dynamics behaviors are being considered in parallel. The statics flexure analysis is done using a detailed Finite Element Model (FEM), while the dynamics simulation is being developed with the mathematical model of the derotator implemented in Matlab/Simulink. Finally, both aspects must be combined through a realistic end-to-end model. The experiment designed to prove the current concept of the MICADO derotator is also presented in this work.
SOXS (Son Of X-Shooter) will be a unique spectroscopic facility for the ESO-NTT 3.5-m telescope in La Silla (Chile), able to cover the optical/NIR band (350-1750 nm). The design foresees a high-efficiency spectrograph with a resolutionslit product of ~4,500, capable of simultaneously observing the complete spectral range 350 - 1750 nm with a good sensitivity, with light imaging capabilities in the visible band. This paper outlines the status of the project.
GIARPS (GIAno and haRPS) is a project devoted to have on the same focal station of the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG) both the high resolution spectrographs HARPS-N (VIS) and GIANO (NIR) working simultaneously. This could be considered the first and unique worldwide instrument providing cross-dispersed echelle spectroscopy at a high resolution (R=115,000 in the visual and R=50,000 in the IR) and over in a wide spectral range (0.383 - 2.45 μm) in a single exposure. The science case is very broad, given the versatility of such an instrument and the large wavelength range. A number of outstanding science cases encompassing mainly extra-solar planet science starting from rocky planet search and hot Jupiters, atmosphere characterization can be considered. Furthermore both instrument can measure high precision radial velocity by means the simultaneous thorium technique (HARPS - N) and absorbing cell technique (GIANO) in a single exposure. Other science cases are also possible. Young stars and proto- planetary disks, cool stars and stellar populations, moving minor bodies in the solar system, bursting young stellar objects, cataclysmic variables and X-ray binary transients in our Galaxy, supernovae up to gamma-ray bursts in the very distant and young Universe, can take advantage of the unicity of this facility both in terms of contemporaneous wide wavelength range and high resolution spectroscopy.
PLATO 2.0 has been selected by ESA as the third medium-class Mission (M3) of the Cosmic Vision Program. Its
Payload is conceived for the discovery of new transiting exoplanets on the disk of their parent stars and for the study of
planetary system formation and evolution as well as to answer fundamental questions concerning the existence of other
planetary systems like our own, including the presence of potentially habitable new worlds.
The PLATO Payload design is based on the adoption of four sets of short focal length telescopes having a large field of
view in order to exploit a large sky coverage and to reach, at the same time, the needed photometry accuracy and signalto-
noise ratio (S/N) within a few tens of seconds of exposure time. The large amount of data produced by the telescope is
collected and processed by means of the Payload’s Data Processing System (DPS) composed by many processing
This paper gives an overview of the PLATO 2.0 DPS, mainly focusing on the architecture and processing capabilities of
its Instrument Control Unit (ICU), the electronic subsystem acting as the main interface between the Payload (P/L) and
the Spacecraft (S/C).
We recently demonstrated sub-m/s sensitivity in measuring the radial velocity (RV) between the Earth and Sun using a simple solar telescope feeding the HARPS-N spectrograph at the Italian National Telescope, which is calibrated with a green astro-comb. We are using the solar telescope to characterize the effects of stellar (solar) RV jitter due to activity on the solar surface with the goal of detecting the solar RV signal from Venus, thereby demonstrating the sensitivity of these instruments to detect true Earth-twin exoplanets.
Usually observational astronomy is based on direction and intensity of radiation considered as a function of wavelength
and time. Despite the polarisation degree of radiation provides information about asymmetry, anisotropy and magnetic
fields within the radiative source or in the medium along the line of sight, it is commonly ignored. Because of the
importance of high resolution spectropolarimetry to study a large series of phenomena related to the interaction of
radiation with matter, as in stellar atmospheres or more generally stellar envelopes, we designed and built a dual beam
polarimeter for HARPS-N that is in operation at the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo. Since the polarisation degree is
measured from the combination of a series of measurements and accuracy is limited by the instrumental stability, just the
great stability (0.6 m/s) and spectral resolution (R=115000) of the HARPS-N spectrograph should result in an accuracy
in the measurements of Stokes parameters as small as 0.01%. Here we report on the design, realization, assembling,
aligning and testing of the polarimetric unit whose first light is planned in August 2014.
The planet hunter HARPS-N, in operation at the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG) from April 2012 is a highresolution
spectrograph designed to achieve a very high radial velocity precision measurement thanks to an ultra stable
environment and in a temperature-controlled vacuum. The main part of the observing time was devoted to Kepler field and
achieved a very important result with the discovery of a terrestrial exoplanet. After two year of operation, we are able to
show the performances and the results of the instrument.
Next-generation infrared astronomical instrumentation for ground-based and space telescopes could be based on
MOEMS programmable slit masks for multi-object spectroscopy (MOS). This astronomical technique is used
extensively to investigate the formation and evolution of galaxies.
We are developing a 2048x1080 Digital-Micromirror-Device-based (DMD) MOS instrument to be mounted on the
Galileo telescope and called BATMAN. A two-arm instrument has been designed for providing in parallel imaging and
spectroscopic capabilities. The field of view (FOV) is 6.8 arcmin x 3.6 arcmin with a plate scale of 0.2 arcsec per
micromirror. The wavelength range is in the visible and the spectral resolution is R=560 for 1 arcsec object (typical slit
size). The two arms will have 2k x 4k CCD detectors.
ROBIN, a BATMAN demonstrator, has been designed, realized and integrated. It permits to determine the instrument
integration procedure, including optics and mechanics integration, alignment procedure and optical quality. First images
and spectra have been obtained and measured: typical spot diameters are within 1.5 detector pixels, and spectra generated
by one micro-mirror slits are displayed with this optical quality over the whole visible wavelength range. Observation
strategies are studied and demonstrated for the scientific optimization strategy over the whole FOV.
BATMAN on the sky is of prime importance for characterizing the actual performance of this new family of MOS
instruments, as well as investigating the operational procedures on astronomical objects. This instrument will be placed
on the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo mid-2015.
The Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG) hosts, starting in April 2012, the visible spectrograph HARPS-N. It is based
on the design of its predecessor working at ESO's 3.6m telescope, achieving unprecedented results on radial velocity
measurements of extrasolar planetary systems. The spectrograph's ultra-stable environment, in a temperature-controlled
vacuum chamber, will allow measurements under 1 m/s which will enable the characterization of rocky, Earth-like
planets. Enhancements from the original HARPS include better scrambling using octagonal section fibers with a shorter
length, as well as a native tip-tilt system to increase image sharpness, and an integrated pipeline providing a complete set
Observations in the Kepler field will be the main goal of HARPS-N, and a substantial fraction of TNG observing time
will be devoted to this follow-up. The operation process of the observatory has been updated, from scheduling
constraints to telescope control system. Here we describe the entire instrument, along with the results from the first
Multi-Object Spectrographs (MOS) are the major instruments for studying primary galaxies and remote and faint objects.
Current object selection systems are limited and/or difficult to implement in next generation MOS for space and groundbased telescopes. A promising solution is the use of MOEMS devices such as micromirror arrays which allow the remote control of the multi-slit configuration in real time.
We are developing a Digital Micromirror Device (DMD) - based spectrograph demonstrator called BATMAN. We want
to access the largest FOV with the highest contrast. The selected component is a DMD chip from Texas Instruments in
2048 x 1080 mirrors format, with a pitch of 13.68μm. Our optical design is an all-reflective spectrograph design with F/4
on the DMD component.
This demonstrator permits the study of key parameters such as throughput, contrast and ability to remove unwanted
sources in the FOV (background, spoiler sources), PSF effect, new observational modes. This study will be conducted in
the visible with possible extension in the IR. A breadboard on an optical bench, ROBIN, has been developed for a
preliminary determination of these parameters.
The demonstrator on the sky is then of prime importance for characterizing the actual performance of this new family of
instruments, as well as investigating the operational procedures on astronomical objects. BATMAN will be placed on the
Nasmyth focus of Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG) during next year.
Aim of this paper is to present an overview of the conceptual design of the Control Software for the European Solar
Telescope (EST), as emerged after the successful Conceptual Design Review held in June 2011 which formally
concluded the EST Preliminary Design Study. After a general description of ECS (EST Control Software) architecture
end-to-end, from operation concepts and observation preparations to the control of the planned focal plane instruments,
the paper focuses on the arrangement devised to date of ECS to cope with the foreseen scientific requirements. EST
major subsystems together with the functions to be controlled are eventually detailed and discussed.
We present an overview of the conceptual design of the data handling unit of the ECS, the Control System for the
European Solar Telescope (EST). We will focus on describing the critical requirements for this unit resulting from the
overall design of the telescope, together with its architecture and the results of the feasibility analysis carried out to date.
The "PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars" (PLATO) is one of the three selected candidates for the next M-class
mission in the framework of the European Space Agency Cosmic Vision 2015-2025, currently expected for launching by
the end of 2018. PLATO aims to find and characterize exoplanetary systems by detecting planetary transits and carrying
out asteroseismology of their parent stars. The Instrument Control Unit (ICU) is part of the on-board Data Processing
System and it is devoted to process and compress digital data inputs from 18 processing units, collecting analog data
from 34 FPAs hosting 4 CCDs each. ICU will be also in charge of managing telemetry and telecommands to and from
the Service Module (SVM) and to collect the payload's housekeeping and science data. This paper will describe the ICU
architecture and functionalities addressing the mission scientific requirements.
During the last years, a number of telescopes and instruments have been dedicated to the follow-up of GRBs: recent
studies of the prompt emission (see for instance GRB080319B) and of their afterglows, evidenced a series of phenomena
that do not fit very well within the standard fireball model. In those cases, optical observations were fundamental to
distinguish among different emission mechanisms and models. In particular, simultaneous observation in various optical
filters became essential to understand the physics, and we discovered the need to have a detailed high time resolution follow up. Finally, recent observations of the polarization in GRB 090102 clearly indicate the presence of an ordered
magnetic field favoring the electromagnetic outflows models. This is, however, only one case and, in order to detail
properly the model, we need a bit of statistics. But, after the Swift launch, the average observed intensity of GRB
afterglows showed to be lower than thought before. Robotic telescopes, as demonstrated by REM, ROTSE, TAROT, etc.
(but see also the GROND set up) is clearly the winning strategy. Indeed, as we will also briefly discuss later on, the
understanding of the prompt emission mechanism depends on the observations covering the first few hundreds seconds
since the beginning of the event with high temporal resolution. To tackle these problems and track down a realistic
model, we started the conceptual design and phase A study of a 4 meter class, fast-pointing telescope (40 sec on target),
equipped with multichannel imagers, from Visible to Near Infrared (Codevisir/Pathos). In the study we explored all the
different parts of the project, from the telescope to the instrumental suite to data managing and analysis, to the dome and
site issue. Contacts with industry have been fruitful in understanding the actual feasibility of building such a complex
machine and no show stoppers have been identified, even if some critical points should be better addressed in the Phase
B study. In this paper, we present the main results of the feasibility study we performed.
We introduce the concepts for the control and data handling systems of the European Solar Telescope (EST),
the main functional and technical requirements for the definition of these systems, and the outcomes from the
trade-off analysis to date. Concerning the telescope control, EST will have performance requirements similar to
those of current medium-sized night-time telescopes. On the other hand, the science goals of EST require the
simultaneous operation of three instruments and of a large number of detectors. This leads to a projected data
flux that will be technologically challenging and exceeds that of most other astronomical projects. We give an
overview of the reference design of the control and data handling systems for the EST to date, focusing on the
more critical and innovative aspects resulting from the overall design of the telescope.
The high resolution spectrograph at TNG (SARG), mounted at the telescope in 2000, is based on the 'first generation CCD controller, transputers and VME real time computer that control the instrument and the detectors. The evolution of the CCD controller, with high performance in speed acquisition and transfer rate, has changed the architecture of the instrument control. Due to the high performances of modern LAN, it has become possible to have direct access to CCD controller and instruments features. The architecture is based on a remote system, connected to a local system through standard network facilities and communicating with it using an XML-like syntax. The remote system receives from the local system commands and, in turn, sends back telemetry and images. This control system will be tested for the first time with the SARG spectrograph, in the framework of the Instruments remote control project at the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo (TNG).
Since 1999 the National Telescope Galileo (TNG) is offering observative nights to the astronomical community. With the aim of increase the efficiency of the telescope and minimize downtime many changes have been done from the original project. Recently it has been taken the decision to completely renew the electronic hardware and software of the active optics system, essencially based on VMEs and on the obsolete transputers processors. From the optical point of view some important modifications have also been implemented in order to allow the off-axis Shack-Hartmann analisys. Also the CCD cameras and their controllers have been redeveloped and the whole control software has been ported to a new architecture to by-pass the VMEs system and directly interact with the actuators and the CCD controllers.
In this paper we report the results relative to the design and fabrication of Single Photon Avalanche Detectors (SPAD) operating at low voltage in planar technology. These silicon sensors consist of pn junctions that are able to remain quiescent above the breakdown voltage until a photon is absorbed in the depletion volume. This event is detected through an avalanche current pulse.
Device design and critical issues in the technology are discussed.
Experimental test procedures are then described for dark-counting rate, afterpulsing probability, photon timing resolution, quantum detection efficiency. Through these experimental setups we have measured the electrical and optical performances of different SPAD technology generations. The results from these measurements indicate that in order to obtain low-noise detectors it is necessary to introduce a local gettering process and to realize the diode cathode through in situ doped polysilicon deposition. With such technology low noise detectors with dark counting rates at room temperature down to 10c/s for devices with 10mm diameter, down to 1kc/s for 50mm diameter have been obtained.
Noticeable results have been obtained also as far as time jitter and quantum detection efficiency are concerned.
This technology is suitable for monolithic integration of SPAD detectors and associated circuits. Small arrays have already been designed and fabricated. Preliminary results indicate that good dark count rate uniformity over the different array pixels has already been obtained.
We report on the progress of the activity, started one year ago, to obtain a photon counting, MCP-based detector, optimized for high count-rate. A new electronic board, hosting both the APS and the electronics processing unit, has been developed. The new architecture of the system, designed to drive the detector, to acquire the images and compute the photon event centers, is described in detail in this paper. We also report the functional tests carried out on the sub-parts of the detector along with a preliminary characterization of the system.
The polarimeter built for the high resolution spectrograph (SARG) of the alto-azimuthal Telescopio Nazionale Galileo is presented. This double-beam instrument, able to take into account time independent
(instrumental) and time dependent (sky transparence) sensitivity,
is based on a Fresnel prism (λ/2) and K-prism (λ/4) which gives an almost constant retard along the very large wavelength interval covered with new spectrographs: SARG covers the 370 - 1020 nm range and more than 300 nm in a single exposure. The two flat metallic mirrors, which are necessary to feed the spectrograph,
and the alto-azimuthal mounting of the telescope are responsible of
an instrumental polarisation depending on the sky position of the
target. A modelling of the instrumental polarisation and a hardware correction of the sky rotation are performed to measure the polarisation across stellar-like object at R=115,000 resolution.
We present results of laboratory test of the high resolution spectrograph, that will be soon in operation at TNG telescope, La Palma. These first result shows that the instruments performs according to specifications, providing the expected very high resolution; and that can be operated remotely according to the TNG standards.
We present a preliminary design study for an adaptive optics visual echelle spectrograph and imager/coronograph for use as parallel instrument of the Nasmyth Adaptive Optics System (NAOS) on unit UT3 of the VLT. The spectrograph is intended for intermediate resolution spectroscopy of faint sources. It could be used for observations of late-type dwarfs in distant Galactic clusters and in galaxies of the local group as well as for spectroscopy of extra galactic objects like quasars and Lyman break galaxies down to a limiting magnitude of V equals 22.5. The implementation of an imaging gand coronograph mode increases the versatility of the instrument and its scientific objectives. The instrument takes advantage of Adaptive Optics at visible wavelengths both for imaging and spectroscopy. With NAOS at the VLT, the light concentration in these bands will be above approximately 60 percent of the flux in a 0.3 arcsec aperture for typical Paranal conditions. Simulations show that a gain of more than one magnitude with respect to compatible non-adaptive optical spectrography will be possible for sky- and/or detector limited observations. In addition, the smaller diffraction limit in the optical than in the IR will allow a significant gain in imaging and coronography as well. Finally, the instrument will allow gathering unprecedented experience on the performances of AO at visible wavelengths, which will be fundamental for further development of AO systems, in particular for very large telescopes.
The discovery of the extreme energy cosmic rays (EERC) with energy greater than 1020 eV has opened a new research branch of astrophysics on both observational and interpretative point of views. Together with the EECR one has also to consider the neutrino component which, independently on its primary or secondary origin, can reach comparable energies. These particles can be detected through the giant showers (EAS) produced in the Earth atmosphere and the induced fluorescent molecular nitrogen emission. Observing the EECR 'signals' is very difficult; we need forefront technology or new developments. The main reason is that their flux is very weak, typically of the order of a few events/year/1000 km2 per EECR of E approximately equals 1020 eV. The proposed Airwatch mission, base don a single orbiting telescope which can measure both intensity and direction of the EAS, impose new concepts for the detectors; single photon sensitivity, fast response of the order of few microseconds with sampling times of tenths of nanoseconds, low noise and good S/N ratio, large area, adaptability to a curved surface. Fortunately the spatial resolution requirements are somehow relaxed. The peculiar characteristics of this application are such that no available detectors satisfies completely the requirements. Therefore the final detector has to be the result of a R and D program dedicated to the specific problem. In this paper we survey a number of possible detectors and identify their characteristics versus the Airwatch mission requirements.
We report preliminary measurements of the air UV fluorescence light yield as a function of pressure using as a stimulus hard x-rays. For comparison measurements in pure nitrogen are also reported. Knowledge of the air UV fluorescence light yield induced by hard x-rays is needed in order to evaluate the capability to detect, in an AIRWATCH FROM SPACE experiment, Gamma Ray Burst (GRB) events. The experiment was carried out a the LAX x-ray facility in Palermo, by using an high flux collimated x-ray photon beam. The experimental result indicate that the fluorescence yield is inversely proportional to the filling pressure. At pressures below 30 mbar, corresponding to the value for the upper atmospheric layers in which the X and gamma ray photons of the GRBs are absorbed, about 0.1 percent of the total energy of a GRB is transformed in UV photons. This makes possible the observation of the GRBs with the technique proposed in the AIRWATCH FROM SPACE experiment.
The high resolution spectrograph of the TNG (SARG) was projected to cover a spectral range from (lambda) equals 0.37 up to 0.9 micrometer, with resolution ranging from R equals 19,000 up to R equals 144,000. The dispersing element of the spectrograph is an R4 echelle grating in Quasi-Littrow mode; the beam size is 100 mm giving an RS product of RS equals 46,000 at order center. Both single object and long slit (up to 30 arcsec) observing modes are possible: in the first case cross-dispersion is provided by means of a selection of four grisms; interference filters are used for the long slit mode. A dioptric camera images the cross dispersed spectra onto a mosaic of two 2048 X 4096 EEV CCDs (pixel size: 13.5 micrometer) allowing complete spectral coverage at all resolving power for (lambda) less than 0.8 micrometer. Confocal image slicers are foreseen for observations at R greater than or equal to 76,000; an absorbing cell for accurate radial velocities is also considered. SARG will be rigidly fixed to one of the arms of the TNG fork by means of an optical table and a special thermally insulating enclosure (temperature of all spectrograph components will be kept constant at a preset value by a distributed active thermal control system). All functions are motorized in order to allow very stable performances and full remote control. The architecture of SARG controls will be constructed around a VME crate linked to the TNG LAN and the instrument Workstation B by a fiber optic link.
We describe the instrumental apparatus developed at the Catania Astrophysical Observatory to characterize the CCDs detectors for the 'spectrum UV' space observatory. The system allows us to perform a full characterization of the electro-optical properties of CCDs. In particular the system is designed to measure the CCDs quantum efficiency (QE) in the wavelength range 1300 - 11000 angstrom. The main components of the instrumental apparatus are a deuterium and a xenon lamp as radiation sources, a monochromator as light disperser, a series of filters to minimize the contribution of the straylight and the second order of the gratings and a series of NIST calibrated photodiodes as reference detectors. For measurements below 2000 angstrom the system is operated under vacuum conditions. The short wavelength cutoff is due to the use of MGF2 optics. The CCDs are operated using different CCD controllers, one developed for the Catania Astrophysical Observatory and the other one for the Italian National telescope 'Galileo.' Here we report on the performances of the instrumental apparatus and also present results on the QE of a CCD chip manufactured by EEV.
In the last years, the Charge Coupled Device (CCD) detectors have had a great development: 2048 X 2048 pixel formats are routinely produced by silicon foundries with good electro- optical characteristics. Scientific CCDs now, not only offer the ability to be read from more than one output, but they can also be buttable to form mosaics in order to cover a larger field of view, requirement posed by the current telescope technology. The Italian National Telescope GALILEO (TNG) will support a large set of visual and near IR detectors dedicated to scientific measurements at the focal plane. Also tracking systems and Shack-Hartmann wavefront analyzers will be based on CCD technology. Due to the number of camera systems to be routinely operated, the possibility to have uniformed interaction and configuration of systems is emerged as an important requirement for this crucial part of the telescope. In this paper the detector and instrument plan foreseen for the TNG telescope will be presented on the first part, while on the second we will present the CCD controller, now at the end of development. Here presented is a modular system based on digital signal processors and transputer modules. It is interfaced to host computers (PCs, workstations or VME crates) via optical fibers and a specially developed VME-VSB interface board.