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Proceedings Paper

The first-generation instruments for the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT)
Author(s): David A. H. Buckley; Peter L. Cottrell; Kenneth H. Nordsieck; Darragh E. O'Donoghue; Ted B. Williams
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Paper Abstract

The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), which had its ground-breaking in September 2000, is rapidly nearing completion, with commissioning planned for most of 2004 and first science observations due to begin in early 2005. This paper describes the design and status of the SALT instrumentation, including the facility instruments (e.g. atmospheric dispersion compensator, guidance system, etc) and the First Generation science instruments: SALTICAM, a high-speed optical imager, PFIS, a versatile prime focus imaging spectrograph and SALT HRS, a fiber-fed high resolution echelle spectrograph. These first instruments are confined to the UV-visible region, and in the case of the first two, optimized for UV-blue performance, with a capability down to ~320 nm. The First Generation instruments, which are all seeing limited, will provide the following capabilities: broad and narrow band imaging, long-slit and multi-object spectroscopy (up to R ~ 6000), spectropolarimetry, Fabry-Perot imaging spectroscopy and precision high resolution spectroscopy (up to R ~ 80,000). Time resolved studies are an important aspect of the overall SALT science drivers and special efforts are being made to ensure an ability to run at >10 Hz, with minimal dead time, by employing frame transfer CCDs on two of the instruments (SALTICAM and PFIS). SALTICAM was installed on SALT in October 2003, while its full imaging mode will be commissioned in 2004. PFIS is currently on schedule for integration on SALT in December 2004, while SALT HRS is due to complete its Preliminary Design Review in July 2004.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 September 2004
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 5492, Ground-based Instrumentation for Astronomy, (30 September 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.551291
Show Author Affiliations
David A. H. Buckley, Southern African Large Telescope/SAAO (South Africa)
Peter L. Cottrell, Univ. of Canterbury (New Zealand)
Kenneth H. Nordsieck, Univ. of Wisconsin/Madison (United States)
Darragh E. O'Donoghue, South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)
Ted B. Williams, Rutgers Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5492:
Ground-based Instrumentation for Astronomy
Alan F. M. Moorwood; Masanori Iye, Editor(s)

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