Subject: Triplespec engineering data

From: Suzanne Hawley

Submitted: Fri, 11 Apr 2008 15:46:04 -0700 (PDT)

Message number: 1099 (previous: 1098, next: 1100 up: Index)

To: APO 3.5m users
From: Suzanne Hawley, 3.5m Director
Re: Triplespec engineering observations

As you may have heard, if you've been reading the users committee minutes, 
the first Triplespec commissioning run went very well during March, 2008. 
Triplespec is our new, near-infrared, cross-dispersed medium resolution 
spectrograph being built by the University of Virginia for the 3.5m. One 
of its unique features is that it takes data in the J, H and K bandpasses 
simultaneously, providing much faster infrared spectra than conventional 
spectrographs e.g. at the IRTF.

It is a credit to the University of Virginia instrument team, led by John 
Wilson, and to the APO staff, that the instrument arrived and was 
integrated into the telescope systems and ready for nighttime observing in 
only a week. We also acknowledge the efforts of Matt Nelson at UVa, 
Russell Owen at UW and Fritz Stauffer at APO in getting the software up 
and running. Many functions are already integrated into TUI, and we plan 
for the instrument to be fully operational with a TUI interface for Q3 
observing (proposals due in May, for observing during the July-Sept 
quarter).  Pending the results of additional engineering commissioning 
runs during Q2, the plan at this time is to allow science proposals for 
Triplespec use during Q3.  Of course there is some risk with such a new 
instrument, and we ask for the patience and understanding of users as we 
continue to commission the instrument.

To facilitate writing proposals, we are allowing community access to various 
engineering and commissioning observations that were obtained during the March 
engineering run.  If you wish to access these observations, please send email 
to Suzanne Hawley and Bruce Gillespie and we will send you the location of the 
data.  There is also a link to download the (in-development) data reduction 
software.  The preliminary manual is located under the instrument link on the 
main APO website, and will be updated in the next few weeks as the UVa team 
analyzes and better understands the instrument usage and performance.

Note that many of the engineering observations were taken at the request of 
your ARC colleagues, and we expect that you will use them only to learn about 
the instrument characteristics.  The data are not to be otherwise used, 
disseminated or published without consulting the Triplespec instrument team and 
the scientist who requested the observations.

Finally, if you are interested in engineering spectra of one or two 
targets of your own choosing, please contact John Wilson at UVa.  Data 
will be obtained as time and engineering/commissioning tasks allow during 
Q2 Triplespec engineering time.  Only targets brighter than about J=16 (or 
K=15) should be requested, as the list of fainter targets previously 
requested is already longer than the available time will allow.

We look forward to Triplespec becoming a facility APO 3.5m instrument in the 
very near future, which will provide us with an exciting and unique infrared 
spectroscopic capability.  Please start thinking about your Q3 Triplespec 
proposals now!

APO APO APO APO APO  Apache Point Observatory 3.5m  APO APO APO
APO  This is message 1099 in the apo35-general archive. You can find
APO  the archive on
APO  To join/leave the list, send mail to
APO  To post a message, mail it to