HAWC (High Altitude Water Cherenkov), is a gamma ray (γ) large aperture observatory with high sensitivity that will
be able to continuously monitor the sky for transient sources of photons with energies between 100 GeV and 100 TeV.
HAWC is under construction in Sierra Negra, Puebla, Mexico, which is located at a high altitude of 4100m. HAWC will
be an array of 300 Cherenkov detectors each one with 200,000 liters of highly pure water.
The sensitivity of the instrument depends strongly on the water quality. We present the design and construction of the
HAWC water quality monitoring system. We seek monitor the transparency in violet-blue range to achieve and
maintain the required water transparency quality in each detector. The system is robust and user friendly. The
measurements are reproducible. Also we present some results from the monitoring the water from the VAMOS detector
tanks and of the filtering system.
HAWC (High Altitude Water Cherenkov) is a high energy Gamma ray detector-telescope under construction at an altitude of 4100 m in the Sierra Negra volcano, Mexico. HAWC is a international Mexico/USA collaboration and it will consist of a array of 300 tanks filled water and three photomultipliers tubes near the bottom of each tank. This work discuss some analog electronics solutions and the use of high speed differential amplifiers for tracking the high frequency pulses from the photomultiplier tubes. It also looks towards the update of the present analog front end board electronics of the water detector tanks.
Over the years astronomical instrumentation projects are becoming increasingly complex making necessary to find
efficient ways for project communication management. While all projects share the need to communicate project
information, the required information and the methods of distribution vary widely between projects and project staff. A
particular problem experienced on many projects regardless of their size, is related to the amount of design, planning
information and how that is distributed among the project stakeholders. One way to improve project communications
management is to use a workflow that offers a predefined way to share information in a project. Virtual Reality (VR)
offers the possibility to get a visual feedback of designed components without the expenses of prototype building, giving
an experience that mimics real life situations using a computer. In this contribution we explore VR as a communication
technology that helps to manage instrumentation projects by means of a workflow implemented on a software package
called <i>Discut</i> designed at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico (UNAM). The workflow can integrate VR
environments generated as CAD models.
NEFER (Nuevo Espectrómetro Fabry-Perot de Extrema Resolución) is a high spectral resolution, scanning Fabry-Perot
Spectrometer. It will be installed in the OSIRIS instrument at the GTC 10 m telescope. This 3D instrument uses a high
order scanning Fabry-Perot to obtain highly accurate kinematical information of extended cosmic sources such as
galaxies or nebulae. Astronomical data obtained with this instrument lead to a 3D spectroscopic data cubes composed of
several images, each one at different gaps of the scanning Fabry-Perot Interferometer. In this work we present laboratory
testing of some characteristics of the ICOS Fabry-Perot acquired for this instrument such Finesse, free spectral range,
and peak transmission. We also present software design and development for the 3D data reduction standalone package
of this high resolution 3D instrument.
Astronomical observatories and telescopes are becoming increasingly large and complex systems, demanding to any
potential user the acquirement of great amount of information previous to access them. At present, the most common
way to overcome that information is through the implementation of larger graphical user interfaces and computer
monitors to increase the display area. Tonantzintla Observatory has a 1-m telescope with a remote observing system. As
a step forward in the improvement of the telescope software, we have designed a Virtual Reality (VR) environment that
works as an extension of the remote system and allows us to operate the telescope. In this work we explore this
alternative technology that is being suggested here as a software platform for the operation of the 1-m telescope.
The Institute of Astronomy at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México have developed and tested a CCD
controller based on Texas Instruments Digital Signal Processor (DSP) TMS30C31@50MHz. Images are temporally
stored in a 2MB static RAM attached to the DSP and transferred to the host computer running under Linux. Both tasks,
acquisition and timing, are programmable so it can be conditioned to control any bidimensional detector. Analog voltage
for bias, offsets and gains are fully programmable also. The system has been tested on an infrared Hawaii detector and
fast Marconi 80x80 pixels CCD.
The integration of software which requires different operating system platforms to run, is a common challenge that has
to be overcome by astronomical software developers. In recent years, the possibility to execute different operating
systems (OS) and programs at the same time, on a single computer by means of virtual machines, known as
virtualization, has emerged as a novel tool to integrate software from different platforms. In this paper, we share our
virtualization experiences and how virtualization has improved the software integration of two astronomical software
projects developed at the Instituto de Astronomía, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico (IAUNAM).
The scanning Fabry-Perot spectrograph could give highly accurate, kinematical information of star forming regions (HH
objects, protoplanetary disks and large scale flows) and the dynamics of isolated and interacting galaxies (resonances,
galaxy pairs, compact groups). In this project we are developing a high spectral resolution scanning Fabry-Perot
interferometer for the GTC 10 m telescope and the OSIRIS instrument. The system will provide the following
characteristics: high spectral resolution data (R up to 20000) over a whole field of view of approximate 8 × 8 arcmin,
0.125 arcsec pixel size in two spectral ranges; 6300 to 7000 Å (galactic projects) and 8000 to 9500 Å (OTELO objects
kinematics). ICOS ET100 Fabry-Perot will be used and installed within the OSIRIS collimated beam in the filter wheel
hosting the tunable filters. Several acquisition software features have been defined like: synchronizing Fabry-Perot
scanning with image acquisition, data cube assembly; single frame or data cube files would be provided according to the
observer data reduction process. Fabry-Perot plates parallelism is extremely important to improve Finesse. Our team has
developed an algorithm to accomplish this task.
In the last two years the National Observatory at Tonantzintla Puebla, México (OAN Tonantzintla), has been undergoing
several facilities upgrades in order to bring to the observatory suitable conditions to operate as a modern Observational
Astronomy Teaching Laboratory. In this paper, we present the management, requirement definition and project
advances. We made a quantitative diagnosis about of the functionality of the Tonantzintla Observatory (mainly based in
the 1m f/15 telescope) to take aim to educational objectives. Through this project we are taking the steps to correct, to
actualize and to optimize the observatory astronomical instrumentation according to modern techniques of observation.
We present the design and the first actions in order to get a better and efficient use of the main astronomical
instrumentation, as well as, the telescope itself, for the undergraduate, postgraduate levels Observacional Astronomy
students and outreach publics programs for elementary school. The project includes the development of software and
hardware components based in as a common framework for the project management. The Observatory is located at 150
km away from the headquarters at the Instituto de Astronomía, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (IAUNAM),
and one of the goals is use this infrastructure for a Remote Observatory System.
We have designed and installed a new active remote observing system for the 1-m, f/15 telescope at the Tonantzintla
Observatory. This remote system is operated in real-time through the Internet, allowing an observer to control the
building, the telescope (pointing, guiding and focusing) and the CCD image acquisition at the main and finder
telescopes from the Instituto de Astronomia headquarters in Mexico City (150 KM away). The whole system was
modeled within the Unified Modeling Language (UML) and the design has proved to be versatile enough for a variety
of astronomical instruments. We describe the system architecture and how different subsystems (telescope control, main
telescope and finder image acquisition, weather station, videoconference, etc.) that are based on different operative
system platforms (Linux, Windows, uIP) have been integrated. We present the first results of an IPv6 over IPv4 tunnel.
Recent remote direct imaging and spectroscopic observations have been used to test the astronomical site. We conclude
that this remote system is an excellent tool for supporting research and graduated observational astronomy programs.
CATAVIÑA is a near-infrared camera system to be operated in conjunction with the existing multi-purpose nearinfrared
optical bench "CAMALEON" in OAN-SPM. Observing modes include direct imaging, spectroscopy, Fabry-
Perot interferometry and polarimetry. This contribution focuses on the optomechanics and detector controller
description of CATAVIÑA, which is planned to start operating later in 2006. The camera consists of an 8 inch LN2
dewar containing a 10 filter carousel, a radiation baffle and the detector circuit board mount. The system is based on a
Rockwell 1024x1024 HgCdTe (HAWAII-I) FPA, operating in the 1 to 2.5 micron window. The detector
controller/readout system was designed and developed at UNAM Instituto de Astronomia. It is based on five Texas
Instruments DSK digital signal processor (DSP) modules. One module generates the detector and ADC-system control,
while the remaining four are in charge of the acquisition of each of the detector's quadrants. Each DSP has a built-in
expanded memory module in order to store more than one image. The detector read-out and signal driver subsystems
are mounted onto the dewar in a "back-pack" fashion, each containing four independent pre-amplifiers, converters and
signal drivers, that communicate through fiber optics with their respective DSPs. This system has the possibility of
programming the offset input voltage and converter gain. The controller software architecture is based on a client/server
model. The client sends commands through the TCP/IP protocol and acquires the image. The server consists of a
microcomputer with an embedded Linux operating system, which runs the main program that receives the user
commands and interacts with the timing and acquisition DSPs. The observer's interface allows for several readout and
image processing modes.
We are developing an instrument to study the morphology and kinematics of the molecular gas and its interrelationship with the ionized gas in star forming regions, planetary nebulae and supernova remnants in our Galaxy and other galaxies, as well as the kinematics of the IR emitting gas in starburst and interacting galaxies. This instrument consists of a water-free fused silica scanning Fabry-Perot interferometer optimized in the spectral range from 1.5 to 2.4 micrometers with high spectral resolution. It will be installed in the collimated beam of a nearly 2:1 focal reducer, designed for the Cassegrain focus of the 2.1 m telescope of the San Pedro Martir National Astronomical Observatory. Mexico, in its f/7.5 configuration, yielding a field of view of 11.6 arc-min. It will provide direct images as well as interferograms to be focused on a 1024 X 1024 HAWAII array, covering a spectral range from 0.9 to 2.5 micrometers .
The kinematics of the interstellar medium may be studied by means of a scanning Fabry-Perot interferometer (SFPI). This allows the coverage of a wider field of view with higher spatial and spectral resolution than when a high-dispersion classical spectrograph is used. The system called PUMA consists of a focal reducer and a SFPI installed in the 2.1 m telescope of the San Pedro Martir National Astronomical Observatory (SPM), Mexico, in its f/7.5 configuration. It covers a field of view of 10 arcmin providing direct images as well as interferograms which are focused on a 1024 X 1024 Tektronix CCD, covering a wide spectral range. It is considered the integration of other optical elements for further developments. The optomechanical system and the developed software allow exact, remote positioning of all movable parts and control the FPI scanning and data acquisition. The parallelism of the interferometer plates is automatically achieved by a custom method. The PUMA provides spectral resolutions of 0.414 Angstrom and a free spectral range of 19.8 Angstrom. Results of high quality that compete with those obtained by similar systems in bigger telescopes, are presented.
The Observatorio Astronomico Nacional, located at Tonantzintla, Puebla, Mexico, has a 1 m equatorial mount telescope of excellent quality. In order to increase its potential for research, teaching and outreach programs, the Astronomy Institute has generated a project for the remote operation of the telescope and acquisition of astronomical data from the university site in Mexico City. The telescope has computerized control, whose programs are recently optimized for remote control handling. The dome was optoelectronic codified in order to have its movements coordinated with the telescope. The Ethernet type fiber optics network is the communication channel for the remote control of the telescope. This will allow to carry out a significant number of projects for the acquisition and processing of astronomical data. The status of the 1 m telescope remote control system is presented.
The system called PUMA is an instrument consisting of a focal reducer coupled to a scanning Fabry-Perot interferometer (SFPI), which is being developed for the Observatorio Astronomicao Nacional at San Pedro Martir, B.C. It will be installed at the 2.0 m Ritchey-Chretien telescope with a focal ratio of F/7.9. It has interference filters, a calibration system, and field diaphragms. The SFPI can be moved out of the optical path in order to acquire direct images. The images produced by this instrument will be focused on an optoelectronic detector, a CCD, or a Mepsicron, depending on the spectral range used.
The development of the IR camera and spectrograph (CAMILA) is described. It is based on a NICMOS 3 HgCdTe detector developed by Rockwell with a spectral response of 1 to 2.5 micrometers . The initial configuration of the system was recently concluded and consists of the following components: detector cryostat, detector control electronics, low noise preamplifiers, detector-PC interface, operating system and optics. The characterization of the electronics and the science grade chip are presented. The complete optical configuration allows the following modes of operation: direct imaging (12 filter positions), polarimetry and spectroscopy on three dispersion modes (low, medium, and high resolution). Preliminary spectroscopic results at the H band with R equals 1500 are presented. The project is a collaborative effort of groups from IAUNAM and UMASS (Amherst) and will be used mainly at the 2.1-m telescope of San Pedro Martir, B.C. (Mexico).