Spring 2014 News

Last updated 14 March 2014

Proposal Deadline for Semester 2014B (August 1, 2014 - January 31, 2015) is Tuesday, April 1, 2014, 5PM Hawaii time.

Please review the information and use our ONLINE application form

Available instruments are listed here. Remote observing is offered from any location with broadband Internet access for any project that utilizes IRTF instruments. Click here for more information.

Telescope Allocation Committee
The current TAC members are Sean Brittain (Clemson Univ.), Kevin Covey (Cornell University), Ted Kostiuk (Goddard Space Flight Center), Mark Lacy (NRAO), Vishnu Reddy (Planetary Science Institute), Kris Sellgren (Ohio State University), Diane Wooden (Ames Research Center) and Leslie Young (SWRI). This committee consists of four solar system and four non-solar system members. The member who rotated off is Jason Surace (IPAC).

Help Keep Our Publications List Current
Please continue to acknowledge the IRTF in your publications following the instructions shown here. It is important that you include in your papers the name of the instrument used and the citation for the instrument, as this helps to insure future funding of IRTF instruments.

Non-standard Observing Programs
Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring will make a very close approach to Mars in 2014B and observations of this comet are of strong interest to NASA. Further information can be found here:

IRTF Spectral Library
Users are encouraged to make use of the spectral library, which is available here. Citations for the papers that have been published can be found here. Contact John Rayner for more details.

NEO Spectral Survey
The MIT-IRTF Near-Earth Object spectral survey is underway, and many spectra are publicly available. See the side bar for more information or go to


Instrumentation Update

On the night of January 10, 2014, NSFCAM suffered significant damage when the LN2 precharge can burst with great force due to the improper positioning of its pressure relief mechanism. Fortunately, no one was injured in this accident. The array and filter wheel appear undamaged and have passed a warm functionality test. Unfortunately many of the lenses are cracked and the cryostat was significantly damaged. NSFCAM will be unavailable until further notice and is undergoing evaluation for repair. For more information contact Michael Connelley.

SpeX will be available in semester 2014B. It is currently undergoing a scheduled upgrade. This upgrade involves replacing the now obsolete spectrograph and slit viewer array controllers with new array controllers from ARC, Inc. The new controllers have been built and are currently being tested. The Aladdin 1024x1024 InSb array in the spectrograph will be replaced with a science grade 2048x2048 Hawaii 2RG array, which is already in-hand. The engineering grade 512x512 Aladdin InSb array in the slit viewer will be replaced by the science grade InSb array currently in the spectrograph. We expect improved sensitivity and increased simultaneous wavelength range in the spectrograph and improved sensitivity in the slit viewer/IR guider (same 60"x60" FOV). Resolving power will remain unchanged but with improved pixel sampling. As part of the upgrade a new version of Spextool will be available for the revised array format. For more information contact John Rayner.

The MORIS instrument will be available in the 2014B semester. The MORIS instrument is a 512x512 pixel Andor CCD camera mounted at the side-facing, dichroic-fed window of the SpeX cryostat (60"x60" field-of-view). MORIS stands for MIT Optical Rapid Imaging System, and it was built by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology following on the successes of the POETS occultation systems. MORIS can be used simultaneously with SpeX and can even guide SpeX in place of Guidedog. For more information on this technique contact Bobby Bus.

CSHELL is a 1-5.5 micron high-resolution echelle spectrometer. It uses a 256 x 256 InSb array. CSHELL is working normally. The built-in CCD guider is less reliable when used under high background conditions (daytime guiding). Contact John Rayner for more details.

Work on the Immersion Grating Echelle Spectrograph (iSHELL) has accelerated. Its various metal components and optical bench are in the process of being machined. Assembly of its various slit and filter mechanisms is on schedule to begin soon followed by the assembly of the cryostat this summer.

Due to a failure of the array electronics, MIRSI continues to be unavailable in the 2014B semester. We are considering upgrading the MIRSI electronics, but this work has still not been scheduled. Please watch this site for future updates on the status of MIRSI, or contact the IRTF staff for more information.