9-13 July 2012
Africa/Johannesburg timezone
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Commissioning the new Sutherland High-speed Optical Cameras (SHOC)

Presented by Mr. Rocco COPPEJANS on 12 Jul 2012 from 14:30 to 14:50
Type: Oral Presentation
Session: Astrophysics
Track: Track D1 - Astrophysics


Based on two existing instruments POETS (Souza et al., 2006, PASP, 118, 1550) and MORIS (Gulbis et al. 2011, PASP, 123, 461), two new instruments, SHOC (the Sutherland High-speed Optical Cameras), have been developed for use on the SAAO 1.9m, 1.0m and 0.75m telescopes at Sutherland. The aim of the instruments are twofold: first to replace older generation instruments currently in use and second to provide users with new capabilities that are not currently available. Each SHOC system consists of a camera, GPS, control computer and peripherals. The primary components are two, off-the-shelf Andor iXon X3 888 UVB cameras, each of which utilizes a 1024x1024, frame transfer, thermoelectrically-cooled, back-illuminated CCD. Some of SHOC's features include a moderate field of view (ranging from 1.3 arcsec on the 1.9m to 3.7 arcsec on the 0.75m), high frame rates (between one and a hundred frames per second, dependent on binning and subframing) , frame-by-frame GPS triggering, high quantum efficiency (> 90% from roughly 480 nm to 700 nm), low read noise, and negligible dark current. Users also have the freedom to choose from a range of custom settings in order to optimise observations. These settings include different readout amplifiers: 1 MHz (16 bit) and 3 MHz (14 bit) in conventional mode or 1 MHz, 3 MHz, 5 MHz, and 10 MHz (all 14 bit) in electron multiplying (EM) mode, with each amplifier having multiple gain conversion settings. More options include custom subframing and binning. A unique capability is the choice of operation in either conventional or EM mode. While operating in EM mode, photoelectrons undergo impact ionization before read out, resulting in the the observed signal being strengthened without increasing read noise. This effectively reduces read noise to sub-electron levels, allowing a significant increase in data quality for low-light applications.  Here, we will present the instrument, characteristics, work that has been completed during the commissioning phase, development plans, and SHOC's applications to different fields of astronomy.






Dr Amanda Gulbis amanda@salt.ac.za SALT / SAAO




Location: IT 4-4

Primary authors