Thursday, May 26, 2011

Highlights from the Science Workshop

On Tuesday, we had a series of presentation on some of the early results from the commissioning of the science instruments. First, David Buckley presented the overall status of SALT and the commissioning of various sub-systems. Even though not all the sub-systems are fully commissioned yet and the telescope will become more efficient with refinement of these systems, the main result is that SALT is back and producing science again.
Next up was Darragh O'Donoghue presenting imaging results from SALTICAM and the newly realigned SAC. The before and after images are really astonishing. Here, we can see Darragh presenting some slotmode observations for Marissa Kotze that is looking at X-ray binaries.
Early RSS results were produced by Ken Nordsieck and Ted Williams. RSS is a multi-mode spectrograph and they have already tried out many of those modes including long slit, spectra-polarimetry, Fabry-Perot, and slotmode observations. The UV throughput looks good although more testing is needed before claiming the fix a complete success. Here is an example of some spectra of OB stars reduced by Alexei Kniazev for his proposal.
Finally, Mike Shara presented some early results of the SALT consortium project investigation into the bursting nova T Pyx. This has already led to the astronomical telegram, but SALT has continued to regularly monitor the object since its outburst. If you are interested in more details about these observations and in participating in the project, please contact Mike or see the T Pyx commissioning wiki.
In addition, the status of the pipeline software and the proposal tools were presented by Steve Crawford and Christian Hettlage. Look for future posts on these subjects or contact us if you are interesting in arranging a tutorial. Overall, it was a great first science workshop and we look forward to the next one in Cape Town where hopefully there will be even more results to present! Thank you Armagh for hosting!

The participants in the SALT science workshop before the board meeting at Armagh Observatory.

1 comment:

  1. Would love you to link to higher resolution pictures from smaller ones in the blog posting.