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Proceedings Paper

Commissioning MOS and Fabry-Perot modes for the Robert Stobie Spectrograph on the Southern African Large Telescope
Author(s): A. R. Koeslag; T. B. Williams; K. H. Nordsieck; E. Romero-Colmenero; P. H. Vaisanen; D. S. Maartens
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Paper Abstract

The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) currently has three instruments: the imaging SALTICAM, the new High Resolution Spectrograph (HRS) which is in the process of being commissioned and the Robert Stobie Spectrograph (RSS). RSS has multiple science modes, of which long slit spectroscopy was originally commissioned; We have commissioned two new science modes: Multi Object Spectroscopy (MOS) and Fabry-Perot (FP). Due to the short track times available on SALT it is vital that acquisition is as efficient as possible. This paper will discuss how we implemented these modes in software and some of the challenges we had to overcome. MOS requires a slit-mask to be aligned with a number of stars. This is done in two phases: in MOS calibration the positions of the slits are detected using a through-slit image and RA/DEC database information, and in MOS acquisition the detector sends commands to the telescope control system (TCS) in an iterative and interactive fashion for fine mask/detector alignment to get the desired targets on the slits. There were several challenges involved with this system, and the user interface evolved to make the process as efficient as possible. We also had to overcome problems with the manufacturing process of the slit-masks. FP requires the precise alignment each of the two etalons installed on RSS. The software makes use of calibration tables to get the etalons into roughly aligned starting positions. An exposure is then done using a calibration arc lamp, producing a ring pattern. Measurement of the rings allows the determination of the adjustments needed to properly align the etalons. The software has been developed to optimize this process, along with software tools that allow us to fine tune the calibration tables. The software architecture allows the complexity of automating the FP calibration and procedures to be easily managed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 July 2014
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 9152, Software and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy III, 91520T (18 July 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2055732
Show Author Affiliations
A. R. Koeslag, South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)
T. B. Williams, South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)
K. H. Nordsieck, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison (United States)
E. Romero-Colmenero, South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)
P. H. Vaisanen, South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)
D. S. Maartens, South African Astronomical Observatory (South Africa)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9152:
Software and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy III
Gianluca Chiozzi; Nicole M. Radziwill, Editor(s)

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