Spring 2005 News

Proposal Deadline for August 1, 2005 – January 31, 2006
Fall 2005 semester observing proposals are due on Friday, April 1. See the information and application form in the sidebar under "Applications". The most current application form, rev. Aug. 2004, must be used. A summary of instruments can be found at The TAC will review telescope applications in May, and time awards will be announced before July 1. Remote observing from any location will be supported.

Tempel 1 Observations in Support of the Deep Impact Mission!
The Deep Impact mission is designed to probe the interior of a comet by crashing a 370 kg copper mass into the nucleus of comet Tempel 1 on July 3, 2005 HST. The solar system panel of the IRTF TAC (D. Britt, N. Chanover, M. Hanner) and two members from the Deep Impact Team, Karen Meech (U. of Hawaii) and Mike A'Hearn (U. of Maryland) evaluated the proposals and created a plan for the Deep Impact observations. Selected to observe this event are N. Dello Russo et al., "Volatile Chemistry of Comet 9P/Tempel 1 Pre– and Post–Impact" Kelley et al., "Imaging Polarimetry of 9P/Tempel 1 During the Deep Impact Encounter" C. Lisse et al., "IRTF Observations of the Deep Impact Encounter with Comet 9P/Tempel 1" M. Sitko et al., "0.4–13 Micron Spectrophotometry of the Comet Tempel 1–Deep Impact Event" and D. Wooden et al., "Temporal Evolution of the Post–Impact Dust Properties of Comet 9P/Tempel 1 Using MIRSI+NSFCAM2." We plan to make the data public 6 months after the event.

The IRTF 36–element adaptive optics system will be available. We are also upgrading NSFCAM with a 2048x2048 array. People planning to use either the adaptive optics system or NSFCAM2 should review the information here. If you have further questions, please contact Eric Tollestrup ( Note that both NSFCAM2 and the adaptive optics systems are under development, so please check with us regarding the latest status of these instruments.

Boston University's Mid–InfraRed Spectrometer and Imager is available for use on the IRTF on a long–term basis due to an agreement between the Univ. of Hawaii and Boston University. Those interested in using MIRSI can find more information at and are encouraged to contact either James Jackson (Boston Univ.) or Eric Tollestrup (IRTF).

Our Science Highlights page is updated regularly as we receive the latest highlights from you. These highlights are sent to our funding agencies, NASA and NSF, to keep them abreast of the exciting and useful science obtained at the IRTF. Please keep submitting your recent publications using the form provided at our web site, or send them to Ms. Karan Hughes ( Please acknowledge the IRTF in your publications following the information on our acknowledgement page.

Image quality
We continue to work on improving image quality. The primary mirror cooling system is up and running, and characterization of the system has begun with promising preliminary results. The autofocus system is now in final testing before being installed at the facility.

Telescope Allocation Committee
Nancy Chanover (New Mexico State U.) has rotated off the TAC after serving from spring 2003 through fall 2004. New members, Henry Roe (NOAO) and Frederick Walter (SUNY–Stony Brook), will serve from spring 2005 through fall 2006. See full membership here.

IRTF Vehicles
To improve safety, we now request that observers who wish to use an IRTF vehicle provide information requested in the transportation section of the Observing Requirements Form. Each driver is required to submit a signed copy of the >Driver's Clearance form to the Hilo IRTF office prior to arrival.