Subject: Minutes of November 17 APO User's Committee meeting

From: strauss@astro.Princeton.EDU

Submitted: Tue, 18 Nov 1997 09:14:11 -0500 (EST)

Message number: 216 (previous: 215, next: 217 up: Index)

	Apache Point Observatory 3.5m User's Committee Meeting
****************November 17, 1997**********************

Attending: Jeff Secker, Michael Strauss, Bruce Gillespie, Rene
Walterbos, Alan Uomoto, Ed Turner

  Ed Turner was late today, so the meeting was a little haphazard

  Status of DIS gratings and Grim filters
  Status of Secondary schedule
  Upcoming Board meeting; next year's budget

  DIS medium-resolution gratings:  Alan has the blue grating now.  The
vendor is not in a position to make the red grating.  Alan is looking
for vendors to make the blank; Hyperfine will rule it.  Installing
these is not trivial, as it requires opening up DIS. 

  GRIM filters: Stubbs was to order continuum filters for H2 line
work.  Because installing these requires opening up the dewar, it may
require a trip by Mark Hereld or someone in his group to install

  Spectrasource makes a 512x512 slit-viewing/acquisition which could
read out every 3 seconds; Jon Holtzman has this camera and is willing
to try it out.  APO's previous history with these cameras has shown
them to have high read noise, but Jon says that this one doesn't seem
to be bad.  We would eventually really like to have a video rate

  Alan Uomoto has been sick for the past three weeks, and is now back
on his feet; we're happy to see that he is well.  

  The schedule for the new secondary has slipped a bit. We're supposed
to prepare this secondary in various ways before sending it off to
Steward.  In particular, the polishing cell may be a serious
bottleneck.  Looking into ways that are inexpensive and fast.  We have
to get it to Steward by January 1; if we are late, do we fall out of
the queue?  Alan will inquire.

Gillespie summarized the 1998 Budget proposal to the Board.  The
report to be presented to the Board will also be distributed to
members of the user's committee. 

  The budget now has an engineering maintenance person (shared between
Sloan and 3.5m): site preventative maintenance, spare parts inventory,
lightening suppression, etc.
  Ed Turner will discuss the results of the mid-September Sunspot
meeting at the Board meeting. 
 In particular, he will informally bring up the possibility of funds
for the DIS upgrades.  One possibility is to turn the planned
JHU/Chicago instrument into a series of upgrades for DIS. 

  Johns Hopkins has access to ACS chips that could be used in DIS,
with technical help from the UW folks. 

  In any case, this will not be a formal budget item now, but will be
discussed, at least at an informal discussion at the Board meeting, in
the larger context of updating instrumentation for the telescope.

  The issue of Director's discretionary time will be formally
requested at this meeting (see the discussion in the minutes of the
Sunspot meeting, apo35-general #193). 

Snow season has started; Gillespie and Corson are looking into propane
heaters to heat up the enclosure when snow is on the roof.  Question:
Does it leave any nasty residue?  Alternatively, look into pumping up
the amount of electricity to the roof.

  Last night, the 3.5m telescope was closed due to smoke from
wood-burning stoves from Sunspot.  Bruce will talk to Jacques
Beckers about an appropriate policy.

  [Post-meeting note from Gillespie:

I talked to Rex Hunter at lunch, he is sympathetic to setting a no-fires
policy for NSO on clear nights with wind out of the north.  We need to
look into our weather logs to see how frequently this had been the
case--many people at NSO burn wood to save on utility bills, so if
they were shut down frequently, unhappy campers.  On the other hand,
Rex said that we're all here to do astronomy, and if people's personal
behaviour gets in the way of that, astronomy takes precedence.

  Previous month's minutes are approved. 

  Next meeting, December 8, 1997, 12:30 PM

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