Spring 2003 News

From the Division Chief
Significant improvements have been made at the IRTF in the past year and I would like to acknowledge the work done by the IRTF day crew and the scientific, engineering, and technical staff. We all benefit from the work they do but rarely pause to acknowledge them. Thank you!

Major accomplishments in 2002 include:

  • Major progress with improving the dome thermal environment – removed heat from electronics in the dome; repaired dome chiller.
  • Installed dome temperature sensors.
  • Completion of the adaptive optics system; engineering work started.
  • NSFCAM upgrade and new array electronics started.
  • Telescope Control System (TCS) replacement grant obtained.
  • TCS emulator completed.
  • remote observing initiated.

Major goals for 2003 include:

  • Fully commission adaptive optics system; integrate with NSFCAM and SpeX.
  • Continue dome thermal environment improvements-- seal dome skirt and shutter to reduce heat input during the day; regulate dome temperature.
  • Actively cool the primary mirror.
  • Initiate program to monitor image quality.
  • Implement autofocus.
  • Initiate TCS replacement work.
  • Complete NSFCAM replacement work.
  • Submit new instrument proposal.

Proposal deadline for Aug. 2003 – Jan. 2004
Fall 2003 semester observing proposals are due on Tuesday, April 1st. See the instructions, current application form, and list of instruments.

Remote Observing in full swing
Please note that all programs utilizing the IRTF facility instruments can be used by remote observing from Hale Pohaku, Hilo, Honolulu, or your office wherever it may be. You may also split your observing party with some at the summit and some at your home institution.

Adaptive Optics System Update
The AOS will be used for the first time in April on a shared-risk basis with restrictions. Information for observers can be found here. If you wish to propose using AO and need further information, please contact John Rayner.

NSFCAM Upgrade
NSFCAM upgrade is fully underway and is expected to be on the telescope in the summer of 2004.

Telescope Allocation Committee
Dr. William Cochran (McDonald Obs.) has rotated off the IRTF TAC after serving four semesters. Dr. Nancy Chanover (New Mexico State) has agreed to serve on the TAC as of this spring semester and through fall 2004. Full committee membership can be found here.

Bibliography & Science Highlights
We thank observers who answered our call for IRTF papers and science highlights throughout last year. Progress and success of the IRTF are measured by your papers, and we ask for your continued support of our bibliography. Use our submission form for all new entries, or you can e-mail your publication information to us.

If IRTF facility instruments have been used you should also cite the the instrument paper. Citations can be found on the relevant instrument webpage.

The IRTF welcomes two new employees, Fred Keske, Electronics Engineer, and Maury McQuat, Observatory Maintenance/Technician.