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Proceedings Paper

The slitmask alignment tool: robust, efficient, and astronomer-friendly software for aligning multi-object slitmasks
Author(s): Marc Kassis; Gregory D. Wirth; Andrew C. Phillips; Charles C. Steidel
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Paper Abstract

Multi-object spectroscopy via custom slitmasks is a key capability on three instruments at the W. M. Keck Observatory. Before observers can acquire spectra they must complete a complex procedure to align each slit with its corresponding science target. We developed the Slitmask Alignment Tool (SAT), to replace a complex, inefficient, and error-prone slitmask alignment process that often resulted in lost sky time for novice and experienced observers alike. The SAT accomplishes rapid initial mask alignment, prevents field misidentification, accurately predicts alignment box image locations, corrects for flexure-induced image displacement, verifies the instrument and exposure configuration, and accommodates both rectangular and trapezoidal alignment box shapes. The SAT is designed to lead observers through the alignment process and coordinate image acquisition with instrument and telescope moves to improve efficiencies. By simplifying the process to just a few mouse clicks, the SAT enables even novice observers to achieve robust, efficient, and accurate alignment of slitmasks on all three Keck instruments supporting multislit spectroscopy, saving substantial observing time.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 September 2012
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 8448, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems IV, 844807 (13 September 2012);
Show Author Affiliations
Marc Kassis, W. M. Keck Observatory (United States)
Gregory D. Wirth, W. M. Keck Observatory (United States)
Andrew C. Phillips, Univ. of California Obseratories, Lick Observatory, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz (United States)
Charles C. Steidel, California Institute of Technology (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8448:
Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems IV
Alison B. Peck; Robert L. Seaman; Fernando Comeron, Editor(s)

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