In late January, 1999, funding for CIRPASS (the Cambridge IR PAnoramic Spectrograph) was approved. Construction and exploitation of this instrument for GEMINI will be the main activity of the group for the next 2-3 years. The Memorandum of Understanding that establishes the conditions under which access by non-Institute of Astronomy members of the GEMINI community both in the UK and elsewhere is still to be negotiated. At present there is no right of access to the instrument on GEMINI.
There is more information about CIRPASS on the CIRPASS Web pages.
Work on astronomical instrumentation became a much larger activity at the Institute of Astronomy with the formation in early 1995 of the Instrumentation Group. Our objective is to build fast-track visitor instruments that exploit emerging ideas and technologies so that IoA astronomers and our collaborators have the earliest access to new and powerful facilities.
We have recently built and commissioned two near infrared instruments:
CIRSI (The Cambridge Infra-Red Survey Instrument) has a mosaic of 4 Rockwell Hawaii arrays and can operate in the z, J and H bands (0.85 - 1.8 microns). It has no cold stop, no re-imaging optics and is designed to exploit several existing wide field prime focus correctors. Cold filters are used to select the desired bandpass and stop the thermal background reaching the detectors. On the Isaac Newton 2.5m Telescope the area of sky seen in a single exposure is about 270 arcmin^2.
COHSI (The Cambridge OH Suppression Instrument) - This NIR spectrograph offers integral field spectroscopy at R~500 and gives a one-hit coverage of 1.0-1.8 microns. For increased the sensitivity the bright OH emission lines from the night sky are optically suppressed. The Integral Field Unit and the OH suppression mask technologies we have developed have worked extremely well on the two observing runs at UKIRT. The instrument is now being upgraded via a 2048 array in to the CIRPASS Spectrograph.
Other projects which group members are involved in are:
Group People - Use this link to find out who we are and how to contact us.
Other useful links
URL http://www.ast.cam.ac.uk/~optics - Revised: 4 July 1998 by kennico
We are part of the Institute of Astronomy , which is part of the University of Cambridge