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Proceedings Paper

6dF: a very efficient multiobject spectroscopy system for the UK Schmidt Telescope
Author(s): Frederick G. Watson; Quentin Andrew Parker; Stan Miziarski
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Paper Abstract

Multi-object spectroscopy at the Anglo-Australian Observatory's 1.2-m UK Schmidt Telescope (UKST) is carried out with the FLAIR multi-fiber system. The FLAIR front-end feeds an optically-efficient, all-Schmidt spectrograph mounted on the dome floor. However, positioning of the 92 available fibers within the 40 sq. deg. field of the telescope is essentially a manual operation, and can take from four to six hours. Typical observations of sufficient signal-to-noise usually take much less than this (e.g. about an hour for galaxy redshifts to B approximately 17). Clearly, therefore, the system is working at well under its potential efficiency for survey-type observations where repeated reconfigurations of fibers are required. To address the imbalance between reconfiguration time and observing time, a fully-automated, off telescope, pick-place fiber-positioning system known as 6 dF has been proposed. It will allow 150 fibers to be reconfigured across a 6-degree circular field in under an hour. Three field plates will be available with a 10 - 15 minute field-plate changeover anticipated. The resulting factor of 10 improvement in observing efficiency will deliver, for the first time, an effective means of tackling major, full-hemisphere, spectroscopic surveys. An all southern sky near-infrared-selected galaxy redshift survey is one high- priority example. The estimated cost of 6 dF is $A450k. A design study has been completed and substantial funding is already in place to build the instrument over a two-year timescale.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 July 1998
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 3355, Optical Astronomical Instrumentation, (9 July 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.316797
Show Author Affiliations
Frederick G. Watson, Anglo-Australian Observatory (Australia)
Quentin Andrew Parker, Anglo-Australian Observatory (United Kingdom)
Stan Miziarski, Anglo-Australian Observatory (Australia)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3355:
Optical Astronomical Instrumentation
Sandro D'Odorico, Editor(s)

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