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27 June 2006 IMACS: the wide-field imaging spectrograph on Magellan-Baade
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Bigelow & Dressler1 reported on the design and construction of IMACS - the Inamori-Magellan Areal Camera and Spectrograph. IMACS was installed on the Magellan-Baade 6.5-m telescope at the Carnegie Institution's Las Campanas Observatory in Chile in August, 2003, and was phased into regular operation in the remaining months of that year (Osip et al2). IMACS is now the most-used instrument on the Baade telescope, accounting for 63% of the nights available for astronomy in the 2005 observing year. IMACS has two basic operating modes. A single 6-inch beam refractive collimator feeds either (1) an f/4 all-spherical refractive camera delivering 0.11 arcsec/pixel, or (2) a double-asphere refractive camera with oil-coupled multiplets producing a scale of 0.20 arcsec/pixel. The detector for both foci is an 8K x 8K mosaic camera of 8 SITe 2K x 4K 15 μ CCDs. The collimator and f/4 camera have performed to design specifications and have delivered 0.45 arcsec images across the 15 arcmin square field. The f/2 camera has delivered images of 0.55 to 0.65 arcsec across its 27 arcmin diameter field in excellent seeing (FWHM ~ 0.40 arcsec). The f/4 camera uses 6-inch reflecting gratings to obtain spectroscopy at multiple resolutions ranging from R=1350-9375; the f/2 camera uses three 6-inch grisms to achieve resolutions of R=450, 600, and 900 over its larger field. We routinely cut hundreds of slits in 30-inch diameter, stainless steel, spherical-shell slitmasks with a commercial laser system. Alignment procedures for observing are simple and efficient, typically requiring 5-10 minutes per set-up. IMACS - an unusually versatile instrument - includes an IFU built by Durham University with two 5" x 8" (f/2) or 4" x 7" (f/4) apertures, each sampled by 1000 optical fibers. A Multi-Object Echelle mode, which can obtain 10-15 full wavelength R=20000 spectra, has been fully tested and has now started regular operation. The Maryland-Magellan Tunable Filter (MMTF) has been lab tested and will be commissioned in June 2006. In early 2007, Gladder's Image-Slicing Multislit Option (GISMO) will be ready for testing, and a second Mosaic CCD camera - which will simplify operations, increase sensitivity, and allow rapid access to both f/2 and f/4 modes - is under construction. We report on the design challenges posed and met by the variety of operating modes and stringent performance requirements. We describe some issues encountered in the past two years in bringing such a complex, multi-mode instrument to the Magellan Observatory.
© (2006) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Alan Dressler, Tyson Hare, Bruce C. Bigelow, and David J. Osip "IMACS: the wide-field imaging spectrograph on Magellan-Baade", Proc. SPIE 6269, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy, 62690F (27 June 2006);


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