The 1.6m New Solar Telescope (NST) has developed a modern and comprehensive suite of instruments which allow high resolution observations of the Sun. The current instrument package comprises diffraction limited imaging, spectroscopic and polarimetric instruments covering the wavelength range from 0.4 to 5.0 microns. The instruments include broadband imaging, visible and near-infrared scanning Fabry-Perot interferometers, an imaging spectropolarimeter, a fast visible-light imaging spectrograph, and a unique new scanning cryogenic infrared spectrometer/spectropolarimeter that is nearing completion. Most instruments are operated with a 308 subaperture adaptive optics system, while the thermal-IR spectrometer has a correlation tracker. This paper reports on the current observational programs and operational performance of the telescope and instrumentation. The current control, data processing, and archiving systems are also briefly discussed.
The largest solar telescope, the 1.6-m New Solar Telescope (NST) has been installed and is being commissioned
at Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO). It has an off-axis Gregorian configuration with a focal ratio of F/52.
Early in 2009, first light scientific observations were successfully made at the Nasmyth focus, which is located
on the east side of the telescope structure. As the first available scientific instruments for routine observation,
Nasmyth focus instrumentation (NFI) consists of several filtergraphs offering high spatial resolution photometry
in G-band 430 nm, Ha 656 nm, TiO 706 nm, and covering the near infrared 1083 nm, 1.6 μm, and 2.2 μm. With
the assistance of a local correlation tracker system, diffraction limited images were obtained frequently over a
field-of-view of 70 by 70 after processed using a post-facto speckle reconstruction algorithm. These data sets not
only serve for scientific analysis with an unprecedented spatial resolution, but also provide engineering feedback
to the NST operation, maintenance and optimization. This paper reports on the design and the implementation
of NFI in detail. First light scientific observations are presented and discussed.