MANIFEST is a multi-object fibre facility for the Giant Magellan Telescope that uses ‘Starbug’ robots to accurately position fibre units across the telescope’s focal plane. MANIFEST, when coupled to the telescope’s planned seeinglimited instruments, offers access to larger fields of view; higher multiplex gains; versatile focal plane reformatting of the focal plane via integral-field-units; image-slicers; and in some cases higher spatial and spectral resolution. The TAIPAN instrument on the UK Schmidt Telescope is now close to science verification which will demonstrate the feasibility of the Starbug concept. We are now moving into the conceptual development phase for MANIFEST, with a focus on developing interfaces for the telescope and for the instruments.
The AAO Starbugs is a multi-functional positioning device used in the TAIPAN instrument currently being commissioned on the UK Schmidt Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia. TAIPAN is part of a design study for MANIFEST which is a fibre positioning instrument proposed for the Giant Magellan Telescope. The acquisition and guiding system for TAIPAN uses nine standard Starbugs, referred to as Guide Bugs. Each one uses a 7000 core coherent polymer fibre bundle on individual guide stars. This provides an astrometric reference frame for science fibre positioning, telescope guiding, instrument alignment and focus, all of which are invariant to telescope and atmospheric geometric anomalies. Guide Bugs are a technology that will enable improved science results for the TAIPAN instrument. In this paper we outline the design features and provide an update on software development.
The ability to simultaneously position many ‘large’ payloads over the focal surface overcomes some of the potential barriers faced by future Extremely Large Telescopes. These devices, called ‘Hoverboards’ are currently capable of positioning payloads up to 3 kg over large focal surfaces (more than 3m). This is achieved by the combination of air pressure and vacuum forces, with either two or more Starbugs or stepper motors for precise positioning. Hoverboards could conceptually position compact deformable mirrors over the focal surface for implementing multi-object adaptive optics. Hoverboards could also position large fiber-based integral field units for multi-object spectroscopic surveys. We report on the development of a low-cost Hoverboard prototype suitable for flat and curved focal-plane surfaces for either the Giant Magellan Telescope or European Extremely Large Telescope.
The AAO’s TAIPAN instrument is a multi-object fibre positioner and spectrograph installed on the 1.2m UK-Schmidt telescope at Siding Spring Observatory. The positioner, a prototype for the MANIFEST positioner on the Giant Magellan Telescope, uses independently controlled Starbug robots to position a maximum of 300 optical fibres on a 32cm glass field plate (for a 6 degree field of view), to an accuracy of 5 microns (0.3 arcsec). The Starbug technology allows multi-object spectroscopy to be carried out with a minimum of overhead between observations, significantly decreasing field configuration time. Over the next 5 years the TAIPAN instrument will be used for two southern-hemisphere surveys: Taipan, a spectroscopic survey of 1x10^6 galaxies at z<0.3, and FunnelWeb, a stellar survey complete to Gaia G=12.5. In this paper we present an overview of the operational TAIPAN instrument: its design, construction and integration, and discuss the 2017 commissioning campaign and science verification results obtained in early 2018.
ULTIMATE is an instrument concept under development at the AAO, for the Subaru Telescope, which will have the unique combination of ground layer adaptive optics feeding multiple deployable integral field units. This will allow ULTIMATE to probe unexplored parameter space, enabling science cases such as the evolution of galaxies at z ~ 0:5 to 1.5, and the dark matter content of the inner part of our Galaxy. ULTIMATE will use Starbugs to position between 7 and 13 IFUs over a 14 × 8 arcmin field-of-view, pro- vided by a new wide-field corrector. All Starbugs can be positioned simultaneously, to an accuracy of better than 5 milli-arcsec within the typical slew-time of the telescope, allowing for very efficient re-configuration between observations. The IFUs will feed either the near-infrared nuMOIRCS or the visible/ near-infrared PFS spectrographs, or both. Future possible upgrades include the possibility of purpose built spectrographs and incorporating OH suppression using fibre Bragg gratings. We describe the science case and resulting design requirements, the baseline instrument concept, and the expected performance of the instrument.
MANIFEST is a facility multi-object fibre system for the Giant Magellan Telescope, which uses ‘Starbug’ fibre positioning robots. MANIFEST, when coupled to the telescope’s planned seeing-limited instruments, GMACS, and G-CLEF, offers access to: larger fields of view; higher multiplex gains; versatile reformatting of the focal plane via IFUs; image-slicers; and in some cases higher spatial and spectral resolution. The Prototyping Design Study phase for MANIFEST, nearing completion, has focused on developing a working prototype of a Starbugs system, called TAIPAN, for the UK Schmidt Telescope, which will conduct a stellar and galaxy survey of the Southern sky. The Prototyping Design Study has also included work on the GMT instrument interfaces. In this paper, we outline the instrument design features of TAIPAN, highlight the modifications that will be necessary for the MANIFEST implementation, and provide an update on the MANIFEST/instrument interfaces.
Hector[1,2,3] will be the new massively-multiplexed integral field spectroscopy (IFS) instrument for the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) in Australia and the next main dark-time instrument for the observatory. Based on the success of the SAMI instrument, which is undertaking a 3400-galaxy survey, the integral field unit (IFU) imaging fibre bundle (hexabundle) technology under-pinning SAMI is being improved to a new innovative design for Hector. The distribution of hexabundle angular sizes is matched to the galaxy survey properties in order to image 90% of galaxies out to 2 effective radii. 50-100 of these IFU imaging bundles will be positioned by ‘starbug’ robots across a new 3-degree field corrector top end to be purpose-built for the AAT. Many thousand fibres will then be fed into new replicable spectrographs. Fundamentally new science will be achieved compared to existing instruments due to Hector's wider field of view (3 degrees), high positioning efficiency using starbugs, higher spectroscopic resolution (R=3000-5500 from 3727-7761Å, with a possible redder extension later) and large IFUs (up to 30 arcsec diameter with 61-217 fibre cores). A 100,000 galaxy IFS survey with Hector will decrypt how the accretion and merger history and large-scale environment made every galaxy different in its morphology and star formation history. The high resolution, particularly in the blue, will make Hector the only instrument to be able to measure higher-order kinematics for galaxies down to much lower velocity dispersion than in current large IFS galaxy surveys, opening up a wealth of new nearby galaxy science.
TAIPAN will conduct a stellar and galaxy survey of the Southern sky. The TAIPAN positioner is being developed as a prototype for the MANIFEST instrument on the GMT. The design for TAIPAN incorporates 150 optical fibres (with an upgrade path to 300) situated within independently controlled robotic positioners known as Starbugs. Starbugs allow precise parallel positioning of individual fibres, thus significantly reducing instrument configuration time and increasing the amount of observing time. Presented is an engineering overview of the UKST upgrade of the completely new Instrument Spider Assembly utilized to support the Starbug Fibre Positioning Robot and current status of the Starbug itself.
Starbugs are miniature piezoelectric ‘walking’ robots that can be operated in parallel to position many payloads (e.g.
optical fibres) across a telescope’s focal plane. They consist of two concentric piezo-ceramic tubes that walk with micron
step size. In addition to individual optical fibres, Starbugs have moved a payload of 0.75kg at several millimetres per
second. The Australian Astronomical Observatory previously developed prototype devices and tested them in the
laboratory. Now we are optimising the Starbug design for production and deployment in the TAIPAN instrument, which
will be capable of configuring 300 optical fibres over a six degree field-of-view on the UK Schmidt Telescope within a
few minutes. The TAIPAN instrument will demonstrate the technology and capability for MANIFEST (Many Instrument
Fibre-System) proposed for the Giant Magellan Telescope. Design is addressing: connector density and voltage
limitations, mechanical reliability and construction repeatability, field plate residues and scratching, metrology stability,
and facilitation of improved motion in all aspects of the design for later evaluation. Here we present the new design
features of the AAO TAIPAN Starbug.
MANIFEST is a fibre feed system for the Giant Magellan Telescope that, coupled to the seeing-limited instruments
GMACS and G-CLEF, offers qualitative and quantitative gains over each instrument’s native capabilities in terms of
multiplex, field of view, and resolution. The MANIFEST instrument concept is based on a system of semi-autonomous
probes called “Starbugs” that hold and position hundreds of optical fibre IFUs under a glass field plate placed at the
GMT Cassegrain focal plane. The Starbug probes feature co-axial piezoceramic tubes that, via the application of
appropriate AC waveforms, contract or bend, providing a discrete stepping motion. Simultaneous positioning of all
Starbugs is achieved via a closed-loop metrology system.
Hector is an instrument concept for a multi integral-field-unit spectrograph aimed at obtaining a tenfold increase in
capability over the current generation of such instruments. The key science questions for this instrument include how do
galaxies get their gas, how is star formation and nuclear activity affected by environment, what is the role of feedback,
and what processes can be linked to galaxy groups and clusters. The baseline design for Hector incorporates multiple
hexabundle fibre integral-field-units that are each positioned using Starbug robots across a three-degree field at the
Anglo-Australian Telescope. The Hector fibres feed dedicated fixed-format spectrographs, for which the parameter space
is currently being explored.
TAIPAN is a spectroscopic instrument designed for the UK Schmidt Telescope at the Australian Astronomical Observatory. In addition to undertaking the TAIPAN survey, it will serve as a prototype for the MANIFEST fibre positioner system for the future Giant Magellan Telescope. The design for TAIPAN incorporates up to 300 optical fibres situated within independently-controlled robotic positioners known as Starbugs, allowing precise parallel positioning of every fibre, thus significantly reducing instrument configuration time and increasing observing time. We describe the design of the TAIPAN instrument system, as well as the science that will be accomplished by the TAIPAN survey. We also highlight results from the on-sky tests performed in May 2014 with Starbugs on the UK Schmidt Telescope and briefly introduce the role that Starbugs will play in MANIFEST.