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9 July 1998 6dF: a very efficient multiobject spectroscopy system for the UK Schmidt Telescope
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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.
© (1998) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Frederick G. Watson, Quentin Andrew Parker, and Stan Miziarski "6dF: a very efficient multiobject spectroscopy system for the UK Schmidt Telescope", Proc. SPIE 3355, Optical Astronomical Instrumentation, (9 July 1998);

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