Subject: Re: Minutes for APO User's Committee meeting, 12/07/09

From: jegunn

Submitted: Fri, 11 Dec 2009 15:30:32 -0500 (EST)

Message number: 1163 (previous: 1162, next: 1164 up: Index)

SURELY guiding with the Agile images is `simply' a software issue ????
I do not believe one CAN do really precise photometry without guiding, at
least on the 3.5 meter and probably any Nasmyth instrument. On another
topic completely, do you know *why* the NSO housing is drying up? The
place is preparing for shutting down, no????



On Fri, 11 Dec 2009, Michael Strauss wrote:

> 		APO User's Meeting meeting, December 7, 2009
> Attending: Suzanne Hawley, Mark Klaene, Jon Fulbright, John Bally, Al
> Harper, Jon Holtzman, Michael Strauss, Scott Anderson; apologies if I
> missed your name!
> There was no specific telescope feedback from any of the
> institutions.
> The telescope report from Mark Klaene is included at the end of these
> minutes.  The big news is the heavy snow that hit the observatory last
> week; just as the observatory has recovered from this, it was hit by a
> wide-spread power outage that is now resolved. The snow outage reminds
> us that we should have a procedure to contact observers (especially if
> they are planning to travel to the telescope!) if the site is
> closed/inaccessible due to extreme weather.
> Agile has no guider.  Tracking tests show good performance now with
> the new drive motors and axis controllers, approx. 3" drift in an hour
> with no guiding.  However some science applications require precision
> photometry beyond the ability to flatfield, and hence want the object
> to be stationary on the same pixel(s).  The performance at NA2
> indicates that we are able to track within about one pixel for an hour
> when guiding.  We are looking into guiding off the science images
> themselves on Agile.
> We then turned to a discussion of the potential new instruments: an
> upgrade for the echelle, a replacement or refurbishing of SPICAM, and
> a high-resolution near-IR spectrograph (FIRST) to be used for Doppler
> planet searches around cool stars.  We started with input from each
> institution.
> Princeton (Strauss): A postdoc, Cullen Blake, is quite interested in
> the echelle upgrade, and has already contacted Burgh with specific
> questions about the detector.  He has also contacted Jian Ge to get
> more details about FIRST.
> JHU (Fulbright): There is enthusiasm about getting greater blue
> response in the echelle, and less fringing in the red.  There is some
> concern about separation of the orders in the echelle.
> Could FIRST be used to follow up interesting APOGEE targets?
> Colorado (Bally): Colorado folks are interested in using the upgraded
> echelle for studies of OVV quasars.  In the contact of FIRST, they are
> building a laser-cooled calibration system with a frequency comb; they
> are in contact with Ge.
> Chicago (Harper): Don York has a series of concerns about management
> risks for the echelle (are all the individuals needed to carry out
> this program lined up?  Are those who built the instrument in the
> first place properly in the loop?), as well as the amount of downtime
> for the instrument.  Al suggested a telecon between the individuals
> most interested in this instrument, to talk about all aspects of it.
> NMSU (Holtzman): There is interest in the echelle and imager.
> Washington (Anderson): Low-level interest in all three instruments.
> Virginia wasn't represented at this meeting.
> Suzanne Hawley then led a broader discussion of the instruments,
> from the point of view of the observatory.  Of the three, the echelle
> program is the most focussed and manageable.  We're eager to move
> forward.  It may possibly be fundable fully from CIF funds.  We need
> to identify a PI.  Given the timescales to put together a real
> budget/plan/PDR, it is unlikely therefore that the work could happen
> during the 2010 Summer shutdown, especially given that we don't have
> all that much money available for this.
> For the imager, the scientific motivation for going from a 5' to 10'
> field isn't very strong.  What we need is a more reliable,
> maintainable instrument than SPICAM, that allows us to continue using
> our very good selection of filters.
>     People are definitely interested in the idea of getting
> simultaneous multi-band imaging, using dichroics to image onto
> multiple CCDs.  But such an instrument would be more expensive than
> CIF funds alone could cover.
> For the FIRST instrument, Jian Ge has a silicon immersion grating,
> and a 2K Hawaii chip in hand.  The design for the instrument is
> still in the "qualitative" stage. Osterman and Bally of Colorado are
> putting together a list of desiderata of what would be needed for
> this instrument to go to PDR.
> One of the action items was to document triple-spec reductions for
> measuring spatial information. Adam Ginsberg (Colorado) has written
> some relevant scripts/code here; he and the UVa folks should talk to
> each other.
> The next meeting of this group will be at 11:30 AM Eastern, Monday,
> January 11.
> ****************************************************************************
>     3.5-m Telescope, Instruments, and CIF Projects Highlights, 11/4/09
> through 12/3/09
>                         Mark Klaene
> 0) Overview
> We are making plans to install 5 more beds in the dormitories to
> handle additional people sharing rooms as NSO/SP housing starts drying
> up.  On 11/30 we received the largest snowfall I have seen, with
> accumulation around 24" of snow. Power was lost due to the weather and
> 2 generator problems.  We also lost the phone due to a control chassis
> failure. Network was down for around 24 hours and we had 2 underground
> water leaks develop. Needless to say it was a hectic week.
> 1) Telescope
> Telescope has been running well. We are continuing to characterize and
> adjust controller logic as time and weather permits.
> 2) Instruments
> DIS, Echelle, SPIcam, Agile and TripleSpec ran with only occasional
> minor problems.
> 3) CIF projects
> With 2010 funding approved these projects will start going ahead in
> January.
> 4) Personnel
> Nick MacDonald has moved to Seattle and will be working at the
> UW splitting time between the 3.5m and SDSS-III on mechanical design
> projects.  Bill  Ketzeback is now on full time day staff as the
> 3.5m Telescope Engineer.
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APO APO APO APO APO  Apache Point Observatory 3.5m  APO APO APO
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