Science capabilities of the Robert Stobie Spectrograph near infrared arm on SALT

Type Conference Paper
Names Andrew I. Sheinis, Marsha J. Wolf, Matthew A. Bershady, Kenneth H. Nordsieck, Ryan L. Doering, Theodore B. Williams
Conference Name Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) Conference Series
Volume 7735
Pages 162
Date July 1, 2010
Library Catalog NASA ADS
Abstract The Robert Stobie Spectrograph Near Infrared Arm (RSS-NIR) is a new instrument on the 11-meter Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), scheduled to begin commissioning in 2012. This versatile instrument will add capabilities that are unique to large telescopes. The main instrument modes include NIR imaging, medium resolution long slit spectroscopy over an 8 arcminute field of view (FOV), multi-object spectroscopy with custom slit masks over an 8x8 arcminute FOV, Fabry-Perot narrowband imaging over an 8 arcminute diameter FOV, and polarimetry and spectropolarimetry over a 4x8 arcminute FOV. Limiting magnitude predictions are 21.1 and 20.1 for J and H band for S/N = 10 per spectral resolution element in 1 hour for 1 arcsec2at an R=7000. All instrument modes can be operated simultaneously with the RSS visible arm, providing spectral coverage from 0.32-1.7 microns. We list the science drivers and describe the way in which they have guided the design for this instrument. We also present a more detailed description of some several planned science programs that will take advantage of the unique capabilities of RSS-VISNIR and the queue-scheduled SALT telescope. Lastly we give a brief description of predicted instrumental performance, along with a comparison to several other NIR instruments at other observatories.
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