Future Instrumentation

Current NOAO and Partnership Instrumentation Projects

SAM: The SOAR Adaptive optics Module (SAM) project for the SOAR telescope aims to provide a system capable of delivering significantly improved seeing over a 1-2 arcminute field in the visible wavelengths. It will exploit ground layer compensation to correct for the turbulence caused by the first few thousand meters of atmosphere above the site, using a Rayleigh laser guide star to provide full sky coverage. It is being designed and built at NOAO-South in La Serena.

KOSMOS and COSMOS: New optical spectrographs for the 4Meter telescopes at Kitt Peak Observatory (KOSMOS) and Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory (COSMOS). These instruments will be copies of the Ohio State Multi-Object Spectrograph (OSMOS), modified for use on the NOAO 4-m telescopes, and will be a joint venture between NOAO and Ohio State University. The project is being funded by a supplemental award granted to NOAO by the National Science Foundation to address the recommendations of the ReSTAR study.

ODI: The One Degree Imager is a new wide field optical imaging capability to be deployed at WIYN in 2011. The imager uses orthogonal transfer CCDs arranged in a mosaic of 64 4Kx4K devices. Fully configurable guide regions may be defined on each device to provide tip tilt wavefront sensing across the entire one degree field. The imager is expected to produce excellent images at WIYN providing a unique combination of field coverage and image quality.

TripleSpec 4: TripleSpec 4 is a high-throughput near-infrared spectrograph for the CTIO 4Meter telescope. Three earlier versions of the instrument have been or are being built for the 5Meter telescope at Palomar, the ARC 3.5Meter telescope, and the Keck 10Meter telescope (hence "TripleSpec 4" for this edition for CTIO).  The project is a joint venture between NOAO and Cornell University, which built the successful edition of TripleSpec for Palomar.  The project is being funded by a supplemental award granted to NOAO by the National Science Foundation to address the recommendations of the ReSTAR Study.

DECam: The Dark Energy Camera is an international collaborative project led at Fermilab which will deploy a 2 degree field of view optical imager at the Blanco 4m at CTIO . The camera uses MONSOON controllers built at Fermilab and CCDs from the Lawrence Berkeley Labs. DECam will be used to carry out the Dark Energy Survey which seeks to understand the nature of Dark Energy.

BigBOSS: The Big Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BigBOSS) is an international collaborative project led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory which hopes to deploy a 3 degree field of view fiber positioner with 5000 fibers at the Mayall 4m at KPNO.  The 5000 fibers will feed a bank of ten identical spectrographs to provide coverage of the full visible light spectrum for all fibers at once.  The BigBOSS survey hopes to collect up to 20 million galaxy spectra to further constrain the nature of Dark Energy.  

Current Gemini Instrumentation Projects

MCAO: By compensating for the atmospheric turbulence in a 3-D fashion, Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics (MCAO) provides uniform image quality (diffraction-limited in the near-IR) over a much wider field than regular AO (one to two arcmin in diameter depending on the IQ criterion). MCAO also removes the “cone effect” associated with the use of laser guide stars. The average sky coverage in H band is approximately 50% over the whole sky.

GSAOI: The Gemini South Adaptive Optics Imager (GSAOI, a high-resolution imager for use with multi-conjugate adaptive optics) will be commissioned along with the MCAO system.

Instrumentation projects funded by TSIP

MOSFIRE: MOSFIRE provides NIR multi-object spectroscopy on the Keck I telescope over a field of view of 6.1’ x 6.1’. A multiplex advantage of up to 46 slits is possible using a unique cryogenic robotic slit mask system. Using a single state-of-the-art Teledyne Hawaii 2RG HgCdTe detector with 2K x 2K pixels, MOSFIRE captures most or all of an atmospheric window in a single exposure for any slit placed within a 6’ x 3’ field.

MODS2: MODS1 and MODS2 are a pair of matched low-to-medium resolution multi-object imaging spectrographs for the Large Binocular Telescope on Mt. Graham.  The Ohio State University is building the two identical spectrographs to work in tandem to exploit the full effective aperture of the LBT.  Each MODS covers the same 6' x 6' field of view at spectral resolutions from 2000 - 8000, with a possible wavelength coverage of 330 - 1100 nm.  Multi-object spectroscopy is enabled by a 24-position slitmask cassette that can carry custom-made laser-cut slitmasks.  Funding support for MODS2 was provided through TSIP.

KCWI: The Keck Cosmic Web Imager is under construction at Caltech, with participation from UC Santa Cruz/Lick Observatory and the WMKO staff.  It will provide wide-field integral field spectroscopy over the visible wavelengths.  It is optimized for precision, sky-limited spectroscopy of low surface brightness phenomena. 

Other Instrumentation Projects

iSHELL: iSHELL will be technically innovative facility-class infrared cross-dispersed spectrograph instrument for the IRTF. This instrument will provide a resolving power of up to 80,000 at 1.1–2.0 μm and 67,000 at 3–5 μm.

Technology Development Projects

MONSOON: The MONSOON Image Acquisition system is the NOAO solution for scalable, multi-channel, high-speed image acquisition systems required for many next-generation projects.  MONSOON is designed to be flexible enough to support CCD, CMOS and IR diode imaging arrays.  MONSOON systems are being deployed in a number of systems, e.g., the Indiana University FHiRE instrument for WIYN, IFAE (Barcelona); and the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) designed specifically for the Dark Energy Survey.  MONSOON systems on NEWFIRM (IR), WHIRC for WIYN (IR), the WIYN Bench Spectrograph Upgrade (CCD)  and QUOTA (OTA CCD) have been deployed successfully.  The MONSOON web page also contains information about the much smaller (but non-scalable) TORRENT system under development.

Last updated or reviewed October 24, 2012.