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Proceedings Paper

The 12Kx8K CCD mosaic camera for the Palomar Transient Factory
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Paper Abstract

The Palomar Transient Factory is an automated wide-field survey facility dedicated to identifying a wide range of transient phenomena. Typically, a new 7.5 square degree field will be acquired every 90 seconds with 66% observing efficiency, in g' band when the sky is dark, or in R band when the moon is up. An imaging camera with a 12Kx8K mosaic of MIT/LL CCDs, acquired from CFHT, is being repackaged to fit in the prime focus mounting hub of the Palomar 48-inch Oschin Schmidt Telescope. We discuss how we have addressed the broad range of issues presented by this application: faster CCD readout to improve observing efficiency, a new cooling system to fit within the constrained space, a low impact shutter to maintain reliability at the fast observing cadence, a new filter exchange mechanism, and the field flattener needed to correct for focal plane curvature. The most critical issue was the tight focal plane alignment and co-planarity requirements created by the fast beam and coarse plate scale. We built an optical profilometer system to measure CCDs heights and tilts with 1 μm RMS accuracy.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 July 2008
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7014, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy II, 70144Y (11 July 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.788086
Show Author Affiliations
Gustavo Rahmer, California Institute of Technology Optical Observatories (United States)
Roger Smith, California Institute of Technology Optical Observatories (United States)
Viswa Velur, California Institute of Technology Optical Observatories (United States)
David Hale, California Institute of Technology Optical Observatories (United States)
Nicholas Law, California Institute of Technology Optical Observatories (United States)
Khanh Bui, California Institute of Technology Optical Observatories (United States)
Hal Petrie, California Institute of Technology Optical Observatories (United States)
Richard Dekany, California Institute of Technology Optical Observatories (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7014:
Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy II
Ian S. McLean; Mark M. Casali, Editor(s)

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