Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spectroscopy At Last!!

Another bad start to the night weather-wise, but the clouds & humidity relented before 11pm, in time for us to have a go at a recurrent nova that happens to be in outburst at the moment: T Pyx.

The track was less than an hour long so we didn't hold too much hope of actually getting spectra, but the acquisition process proved surprisingly painless!

Long-slit spectra were obtained (with a 0.6 arcsec slit & the 2300 lines/mm grating) for two wavelength settings - one to span the Sodium D lines & another to get H-alpha.

Copper-Argon & Neon arc spectra were also obtained for these two configurations - even though none of us had used the calibration system before!

This all worked fantastically well & huge credit must go to everybody concerned (way too many people to list) for getting everything together!  Really Really Wonderful :) :) :)

Shortly after the T Pyx track ended, the humidity shot back up & we had to close for the rest of the night. Tim's working on wavelength calibrating the spectra, but in the meantime here's a quick look at the data showing the complex profiles of the D lines & the broad H-alpha emission...

Note that the deep, square features near 2000 & 4000 pixels are due to the gaps between the 3 CCDs that make up the RSS detector.


  1. Absolutely stunning!!
    Well done everyone concerned.

    Dave O'H

  2. Once again a hearty round of applause to all you die hards who have made this possible! **BIG GRIN**

  3. Superb news!! I look forward to having a play with RSS myself soon :-)