27 July 2016 Current status of the facility instrumentation suite at the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory
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Abstract
The current status of the facility instrumentation for the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) is reviewed. The LBT encompasses two 8.4 meter primary mirrors on a single mount yielding an effective collecting area of 11.8 meters or 23 meters when interferometrically combined. The three facility instruments at LBT include: 1) the Large Binocular Cameras (LBCs), each with a 23’× 25’ field of view (FOV). The blue optimized and red optimized optical wavelength LBCs are mounted at the prime focus of the SX (left) and DX (right) primary mirrors, respectively. Combined, the filter suite of the two LBCs cover 0.3-1.1 μm, including the addition of new medium-band filters centered on TiO (0.78 μm) and CN (0.82 μm); 2) the Multi-Object Double Spectrograph (MODS), two identical optical spectrographs each mounted at the straight through f/15 Gregorian focus of the primary mirrors. The capabilities of MODS-1 and -2 include imaging with Sloan filters (u, g, r, i, and z) and medium resolution (R ∼ 2000) spectroscopy, each with 24 interchangeable masks (multi-object or longslit) over a 6’× 6’ FOV. Each MODS is capable of blue (0.32-0.6 μm) and red (0.5-1.05 μm) wavelength only spectroscopy coverage or both can employ a dichroic for 0.32-1.05 μm wavelength coverage (with reduced coverage from 0.56- 0.57 μm); and 3) the two LBT Utility Camera in the Infrared instruments (LUCIs), are each mounted at a bent-front Gregorian f/15 focus of a primary mirror. LUCI-1 and 2 are designed for seeing-limited (4’× 4’ FOV) and active optics using thin-shell adaptive secondary mirrors (0.5’× 0.5’ FOV) imaging and spectroscopy over the wavelength range of 0.95-2.5 μm and spectroscopic resolutions of 400 ≤ R ≤ 11000 (depending on the combination of grating, slits, and cameras used). The spectroscopic capabilities also include 32 interchangeable multi-object or longslit masks which are cryogenically cooled. Currently all facility instruments are in-place at the LBT and, for the first time, have been on-sky for science observations. In Summer 2015 LUCI-1 was refurbished to replace the infrared detector; to install a high-resolution camera to take advantage of the active optics SX secondary; and to install a grating designed primarily for use with high resolution active optics. Thus, like MODS-1 and -2, both LUCIs now have specifications nearly identical to each other. The software interface for both LUCIs have also been replaced, allowing both instruments to be run together from a single interface. With the installation of all facility instruments finally complete we also report on the first science use of “mixed-mode” operations, defined as the combination of different paired instruments with each mirror (i.e. LBC+MODS, LBC+LUCI, LUCI+MODS). Although both primary mirrors reside on a single fixed mount, they are capable of operating as independent entities within a defined “co-pointing” limit. This provides users with the additional capability to independently dither each mirror or center observations on two different sets of spatial coordinates within this limit.
© (2016) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Barry Rothberg, Barry Rothberg, Olga Kuhn, Olga Kuhn, Michelle L. Edwards, Michelle L. Edwards, John M. Hill, John M. Hill, David Thompson, David Thompson, Christian Veillet, Christian Veillet, R. Mark Wagner, R. Mark Wagner, } "Current status of the facility instrumentation suite at the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory", Proc. SPIE 9906, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes VI, 990622 (27 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2233245; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2233245
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