BOMBOLO is our instrument proposal for covering a series of scientific cases, in the not-so-explored time window of tens of seconds to minutes exposures, to be installed at the SOAR observatory. BOMBOLO is a wide field imager, capable of simultaneous, synchronous and independent observations in three different bands of the near-UV and visible wavelengths. BOMBOLO will be located at one of the Bent Cassegrain focal stations. Given its length, weight and mounting limitations, we discuss the current mechanical and opto-mechanical design of the instrument, given flexures caused by a changing gravity vector. In order to validate our designs, a Monte-Carlo simulation is used to explore different observing conditions, as the starting point for static and dynamic studies of the structure using Finite Element Analysis tools. A quick update on the current state of the instrument related to the optical design and manufacturing as well as the CCD cameras is included.
We introduced the use of Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) for centroiding in Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensors in the presence of elongated spots, as it will occur in Extremely Large Telescopes. We showed in simulation that ANNs can outperform existing techniques, such as the Matched Filter. The main advantage of our technique is its ability to cope with changing conditions, as real atmospheric turbulence behaves. Here we present experimental results from the laboratory that confirm the findings in our original article, while at the same time they are useful to refine the ANN-based techniques.
BOMBOLO is a new multi-passband visitor instrument for the SOAR observatory. It is a three-arm imager covering the
near-UV and optical wavelengths. The three arms work simultaneously and independently, providing synchronized
imaging capability for rapid astronomical events. BOMBOLO leading science cases are: 1) Simultaneous Multiband
Flickering Studies of Accretion Phenomena; 2) Near UV/Optical Diagnostics of Stellar Evolutionary Phases; 3)
Exoplanetary Transits; 4) Microlensing Follow-Up and 5) Solar Systems Studies. The instrument is at the Conceptual
Design stage, having been approved by the SOAR Board of Directors as a visitor instrument in 2012 and having been
granted full funding from CONICYT, the Chilean State Agency of Research, in 2013. The Design Phase has begun and
will be completed in late 2014, followed by a construction phase in 2015 and 2016A, with expected Commissioning in
2016B and 2017A.