Fri, 30 Nov 2001

Dear WIYN Users,

Sparsepak is available in "shared use" mode to all WIYN researchers as well as the general NOAO community. Please note, this is NOT "shared risk." There is no risk. The instrument is up and working very well; two conference proceedings based on preliminary results are shortly forthcoming, as is a PASP-bound instrument paper. A web site ( details the instrument, commissioning, preliminary results etc.

We would be delighted to have people use SparsePak as much as possible as soon as possible. We are especially eager for someone to try SparsePak with the Bench in non-echelle mode -- something which we have not currently done. We have good experience now with SparsePak using the echelle in orders 6-9 and 11, with some valuable setups for H-alpha, MgIb and the CaII near-IR triplet-- thanks to Di Harmer.

"Shared use" means it is collaborative. You get access to use SparsePak during your own allocation of observing time, and you also get access to our expertise. In return, you include the instrument PIs (Bershady and Andersen) on publications resulting from these observations. (Formally the way this works is that you contact us, we come to an agreement, and we jointly send a letter to the Director stating our collaboration; we indicate that you have permission to use SparsePak given the above understanding on "shared use.") If you need to consult in detail with another one of the instrument team, i.e., Marc Verheijen, we ask that he too be included as an author on resulting SparsPak publications. Marc is currently the most experienced SparsePak observer. The instrument team can help you prepare your run, and also be available during runs, although we would prefer to do this remotely unless absolutely necessary. Pat Knezek has already used SparsePak solo, for example. If you have used DensePak before, it's basically the same game.

In Fall 2002 SparsePak becomes a WIYN-Institution-class instrument, which means it is open to researchers resident at Wisconsin, Indiana, Yale and NOAO. In Fall of 2003 it is open to all users. A table summarizes this schedule below. This is an experiment for us as instrument builders: We are interested to see if changes in the usage pattern develope as SparsePak changes modes of availability.

UPDATE FYI: As of Jan 2 2002, we have upgrade the support mount to minimize any flexure in the SparsePak/WIFOE interface. WIFOE pellicle optics and ICCD were repaired in Fall 2001 thanks to Charles Corson and Kent Honeycutt. Some commissioning tests remain to be completed, particularly those concerning scattered light. However, our preliminary indications are that Sparsepak is performing to expectations. For further details on instrument parameters, schedule, performance, setup etc. see our website (above).


Matthew Bershady
University of Wisconsin
Department of Astronomy
475 N. Charter Street
Madison, WI 53706
     person: 6512 Sterling Hall
voice: (608) 265 3392
fax: (608) 263 6386

  SparsePak Shared-Use Instructions
  SparsePak page
  DensePak page
  Bench Spectrograph page

SparsePak Instrument Phase-in Schedule

(i)InstallationMay 2001
(ii)CommissioningMay 2001 through Spring 2002
(iii)Shared-Use Fall 2001 -
(iv)WIYN Institution-class Instrument  Fall 2002 -
(v)Facility-class InstrumentFall 2003 -

+ Commissioning:  availability to PI research team for testing and verification of science readiness.
+ Shared-Use Operations:  availability to all researchers with WIYN access (through WIYN institutional allocation or NOAO) in collaboration with instrument PIs / instrument team.
+ WIYN Institution-class Instrument Operations:  General availability to researchers resident at all WIYN institutions.
+ Facility-class Instrument Operations:  General availability to community through NOAO as well as WIYN institutions.