Southern African Large Telescope Near Infrared Spectrograph


The Department of Astronomy along with the Space Astronomy Lab and the Space Science and Engineering Center is building a near infrared (NIR) upgrade to the Robert Stobie Spectrograph (RSS) on the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), RSS/NIR, extends the spectral coverage of all modes of the optical spectrograph. The RSS/NIR is a low to medium resolution spectrograph with broadband, spectropolarimetric, and Fabry-Perot imaging capabilities. The optical and NIR arms can be used simultaneously to extend spectral coverage from 3200 Å to approximately 1.6 mm.  Both arms utilize high efficiency volume phase holographic gratings via articulating gratings and cameras. The NIR camera incorporates a HAWAII-2RG detector with an Epps optical design consisting of 6 spherical elements and providing sub-pixel rms image sizes of 7.5 ± 1.0 mm over all wavelengths and field angles. The NIR spectrograph is semi-warm, sharing a common slit plane and partial collimator with the optical arm. A pre-dewar, cooled to below ambient temperature, houses the final NIR collimator optic, the grating/Fabry-Perot etalon, the polarizing beam splitter, and the first three camera optics. The last three camera elements, blocking filters, and detector are housed in a cryogenically cooled dewar. The semi-warm design concept has long been proposed as an economical way to extend optical instruments into the NIR.

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December 19, 2011