The high multiplex advantage of VIMOS, the VLT visible imager and multi-object/integral-field spectrometer, makes it
a powerful instrument for large-scale spectroscopic surveys of faint sources. Following community input and
recommendations by ESO's Science and Technology Committee, in 2009 it was decided to upgrade the instrument. This
included installing an active flexure compensation system and replacing the detectors with CCDs that have a far better
red sensitivity and less fringing. Significant changes have also been made to the hardware, maintenance and operational
procedures of the instrument with the aim of improving availability and productivity. Improvements have also been
made to the data reduction pipeline. The upgrade will end in 2012 and the results of the program will be presented here.
HAWK-I is the newly commissioned High Acuity Wide-field K-band Imager at the ESO Very Large Telescope. It is a
0.9-2.5 micron imager with a field of view of 7.5×7.5 arcmin sampled at 106 mas with four Hawaii2RG detectors. It has
a full reflective design that was optimised for image quality and throughput.We present an overview of its performance as
measured during the commissioning and first science runs. In particular, we describe a detector read-out mode that allows
us to increase the useful dynamic range of the detector, and a distortion calibration resulting in <5mas relative astrometry
across the field.
We discuss the challenges to photometry introduced by internal redistribution of light in wide-field imaging cameras with focal-reducers. We have developed a simple least-squares procedure which can be used to determine the zero-point variations across the field. The method uses three orthogonally offseted images of a reasonably dense stellar field, plus an image containing at least three standard stars scattered across the field. The method, which does not require rotating the instrument, have been applied to correct data from the Wide Field Imager at La Silla. It has been shown to reduce a 12% center-to-edge gradient down to a ~2% rms variation accross the field. A new method which can be used with data taken during non-photometric nights is also presented.