NSFCAM - A New Infrared Array Camera for the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility

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Session 117 -- Astronomical Instruments and Techniques
Oral presentation, Saturday, January 15, 10:15-11:45, Salon V Room (Crystal Gateway)

[117.01] NSFCAM - A New Infrared Array Camera for the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility

Mark Shure, D.W.Toomey, John Rayner, P.Onaka, A.Denault, W.Stahlberger, D.Watanabe, K.Criez, L.Robertson and D.Cook (Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii)

We have just recently completed construction of a 1--5.5 $\mu$m infrared array camera based upon the Santa Barbara Research Center 256$\times$256 InSb array. The primary features of this powerful new instrument are three user-selected platescales, a variety of fixed bandpass filters, 1-2\% spectral resolution circular variable filters, coronagraph masks, polarization imaging capability, an optical guider/imager, and a grism.

The three pixel scales of 0.30, 0.15 and 0.06 arcsec/pixel provide a range of spatial resolutions which can be used to match a wide range of seeing conditions and scientific programs. The smallest platescale was specifically chosen to take advantage of image improvements expected from the new tip-tilt secondary image stabilization system. Simultaneous optical and infrared imaging of the same field will be possible through the use of a cold dichroic which reflects wavelengths less than 1 $\mu$m. This capability will be used for both guiding and scientific imaging.

The array clocking and data acquisition are controlled by multiple Motorola 96002 DSPs. The instrument is operated by observers through a sophisticated X-Windows-based user interface running on a Sun workstation. We plan to implement several unique operating modes, including ``shift \& add mode'' (real-time shifting and addition of images using point sources to register images and partially correct for image motion), ``IR guiding mode'' (telescope guiding on infrared objects in the array field) and ``movie mode'' (fast sub-array acquisition for short-term time dependent events, such as planetary satellite and lunar occultations).

This instrument was first used by observers in September 1993. We will present some preliminary scientific results.

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