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25 July 2008 CRIRES: commissioning and first science results
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CRIRES is a cryogenic, pre-dispersed, infrared Echelle spectrograph designed to provide a nominal resolving power ν/Δν of 105 between 1000 and 5000 nm for a nominal slit width of 0.2". The CRIRES installation at the Nasmyth focus A of the 8-m VLT UT1 (Antu) marks the completion of the original instrumentation plan for the VLT. A curvature sensing adaptive optics system feed is used to minimize slit losses and to provide 0.2" spatial resolution along the slit. A mosaic of four Aladdin InSb-arrays packaged on custom-fabricated ceramic boards has been developed. It provides for an effective 4096 × 512 pixel focal plane array to maximize the free spectral range covered in each exposure. Insertion of gas cells is possible in order to measure radial velocities with high precision. Measurement of circular and linear polarization in Zeeman sensitive lines for magnetic Doppler imaging is foreseen but not yet fully implemented. A cryogenic Wollaston prism on a kinematic mount is already incorporated. The retarder devices will be located close to the Unit Telescope focal plane. Here we briefly recall the major design features of CRIRES and describe the commissioning of the instrument including a report of extensive testing and a preview of astronomical results.
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