In this paper we present recent progress on the Australian Astronomical Observatory’s AESOP2 fiber positioner for 4MOST (on VISTA). As an evolution of the Echidna “spine” technology used for FMOS (on Subaru), AESOP has challenging requirements to position 2,448 fibers in parallel, within 1 minute, to an accuracy of < 10 um RMS. AESOP successfully passed ESO’s official final design review and manufacturing has commenced. We present performance results from the first batch of newly-manufactured positioners and also report on how the AESOP project is tracking in terms of schedule, budget and risk.
The Australian Astronomical Observatory’s (AAO’s) AESOP project is part of the 4 metre Multi-Object Spectrograph Telescope (4MOST) system for the VISTA telescope. It includes the 2436-fiber positioner, space frame and electronics enclosures. The AESOP concept and the role of the AAO in the 4MOST project have been described in previous SPIE proceedings. Prototype tests, which were completed early in 2017 demonstrated that the instrument requirements are satisfied by the design. The project final design stage has recently been completed. In this paper, key features of the AESOP positioning system design, along with the techniques developed to overcome key mechanical, electronic, and software engineering challenges are described. The major performance requirement for AESOP is that all 2436 science fiber cores and 12 guide fiber bundles are to be re-positioned to an accuracy of 10 µm within 1 minute. With a fast prime-focus focal-ratio, a close tolerance on the axial position of the fiber tips must be held so efficiency does not suffer from de-focus losses. Positioning accuracy is controlled with the metrology cameras installed on the telescope, which measures the positions of the fiber tips to an accuracy of a few µm and allows iterative positioning until all fiber tips are within tolerance. Maintaining co-planarity of the fiber tips requires accurate control in the assembly of several components that contribute to such errors. Assembly jigs have been developed and proven adequate for this purpose. Attaining high reliability in an assembly with many small components of disparate materials bonded together, including piezo ceramics, carbon fiber reinforced plastic, hardened steel, and electrical circuit boards, has entailed careful selection and application of cements and tightly controlled soldering for electrical connections.
Based on the success of the SAMI integral field spectrograph (IFS) instrument on the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) the capacity for large IFS nearby galaxy surveys on the AAT is being substantially expanded with a new instrument called Hector. The high filling-fraction imaging fibre bundles ‘hexabundles’ of the type used on SAMI, are being enlarged to cover up to 30-arcsec diameter. The aim is to reach two effective radii on most galaxies, where the galaxy rotation curve flattens and >75% of the specific angular momentum of disk galaxies is accounted for. Driven by the key science case, Hector will have a 1.3A spectral resolution, enabling high-order stellar kinematics to be measured on a larger fraction of galaxies than with any other IFS instrument. Hector will be on sky in 2019.
The first module of Hector, Hector-I, will have 21 hexabundles and >42 sky fibres to observe 20 galaxies and a calibration star simultaneously. It consists of new blue and red-arm spectrographs that have been designed at the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO; now called AAO-Macquarie), coupled to the new hexabundles and robotic positioner from AAO-USydney (formerly the Sydney Astrophotonics Instrumentation Laboratory, SAIL) at Sydney University. A novel robotic positioning concept will compensate for varying telecentricity over the 2-degree-field of the AAT to recoup the 20% loss in light at the edge of the field. Hector-I will survey 15,000 galaxies. Additional modules in the future would result in 30,000 galaxies.
Hector will take integral field spectroscopy on galaxies with z<0.15 in the 4MOST WAVES-North and WAVES-South∗ regions. The WAVES data, which will come later, will give the environment metrics neces- sary to relate how local and global environments influence galaxy growth through gas accretion, star formation and spins measured with Hector. The WALLABY ASKAP† survey will trace HI gas across the Hector fields, which in combination with Hector will give a complete view of gas accretion and star formation.
In this paper we present the Australian Astronomical Observatory’s concept design for Sphinx - a fiber positioner with 4,332 “spines” on a 7.77mm pitch for CFHT’s Mauna Kea Spectroscopic Explorer (MSE) Telescope. Based on the Echidna technology used with FMOS (on Subaru) and 4MOST (on VISTA), the next evolution of the tilting spine design delivers improved performance and superior allocation efficiency. Several prototypes have been constructed that demonstrate the suitability of the new design for MSE. Results of prototype testing are presented, along with an analysis of the impact of tilting spines on the overall survey efficiency. The Sphinx fiber positioner utilizes a novel metrology system for spine position feedback. The metrology design and the careful considerations required to achieve reliable, high accuracy measurements of all fibers in a realistic telescope environment are also presented.
Hector[1,2,3] will be the new massively-multiplexed integral field spectroscopy (IFS) instrument for the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) in Australia and the next main dark-time instrument for the observatory. Based on the success of the SAMI instrument, which is undertaking a 3400-galaxy survey, the integral field unit (IFU) imaging fibre bundle (hexabundle) technology under-pinning SAMI is being improved to a new innovative design for Hector. The distribution of hexabundle angular sizes is matched to the galaxy survey properties in order to image 90% of galaxies out to 2 effective radii. 50-100 of these IFU imaging bundles will be positioned by ‘starbug’ robots across a new 3-degree field corrector top end to be purpose-built for the AAT. Many thousand fibres will then be fed into new replicable spectrographs. Fundamentally new science will be achieved compared to existing instruments due to Hector's wider field of view (3 degrees), high positioning efficiency using starbugs, higher spectroscopic resolution (R=3000-5500 from 3727-7761Å, with a possible redder extension later) and large IFUs (up to 30 arcsec diameter with 61-217 fibre cores). A 100,000 galaxy IFS survey with Hector will decrypt how the accretion and merger history and large-scale environment made every galaxy different in its morphology and star formation history. The high resolution, particularly in the blue, will make Hector the only instrument to be able to measure higher-order kinematics for galaxies down to much lower velocity dispersion than in current large IFS galaxy surveys, opening up a wealth of new nearby galaxy science.