With the advent of large-scale time-domain surveys such as the LSST, there is a strong desire for the 4-m SOAR Telescope to be able to respond efficiently and effectively to transient alerts. Enabling the required capabilities at SOAR will also support a greater variety of science programs than conventional telescope scheduling. These capabilities are best deployed with SOAR acting as one of several telescopes responding to alerts and supporting time domain programs. We outline how this might be done if SOAR is included as a node in the Las Cumbres Observatory network, at least part-time. This allows SOAR to make use of extensive existing software infrastructure, while adding a larger aperture to the existing network. Participation of SOAR also serves as a pathfinder for participation of other large telescopes in an evolved LCO network. The overall workflow is outlined. Required interfaces are described. Finally, the initial development efforts with this goal in mind are outlined.
The linear Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector has been operating at the SOuthern Astrophysical Research telescope since 2014. It was designed and built in collaboration between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. The device is installed in the elevation axis before the instruments mounted at the optical Nasmyth focus. It consists of two 300mm diameter sol-gel coated fused silica prisms, trombone mounted, which can be folded in or out of the beam. It is important for long slit spectroscopy, and essential for Multi-Object Slit spectroscopy. We present optical and mechanical designs, electronics and software control, and on-sky performance.
The Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) Telescope is a 4.1 meter aperture telescope situated in Cerro Pachon, IV Region, Chile. The telescope works from the atmospheric cut-off in the blue (320 nm) to the near infrared and has been designed to deliver the highest possible angular resolution at optical wavelengths. The telescope has an altazimuth mount which is controlled by the Mount Control Unit (MCU) system.<p> </p> The SOAR Mount Control Unit Upgrade Project seeks to replace the current MCU in the SOAR telescope. The new control unit will be based on the National Instruments cRIO-9039 controller, which will allow to improve the telemetry, improve fault detection and use new digital control techniques. <p> </p>This will allow a more compact and robust MCU. This paper introduces the project, shows the control architecture and the current status of the new MCU implementation.