Monday, October 29, 2012

SALT Status Update for October

Recent Papers from SALT

Apostolos Christou at Armagh Observatory in the UKSC along with Tomek
Kwiatkowski and Magda Butkiewicz from Adam Mickiewicz University from
Poland and Amanda Gulbis from SAAO/SALT (NRF) recently published a
paper on the physical and dynamical characterization of nearby Earth Asteroid 
NEA (190491) 2000 FJ10.  They used imaging observations from SALT
along with observations from other telescopes to determine the
characteristics of this asteroid.   Due to its characteristics, this
object may be a good candidate for future human space missions.
More details can be found here:

Science at the Board meeting

The SALT board meeting is quickly approaching (5-9 Nov)!  The first
two days of the meetings includes workshops on MeerKAT and SALT and
Science with SALT, and then followed by the regular board meeting.  We
will try to post as much as we can on the SALT website and blog, but
if you would like anything presented or to share anything with the
community, please send it along either to your board representative,
email it to, or post it on the SALT Science wiki: (you can use your WM username and
password to log in).  We know there have been many great proposals
observed so far and it would be great to hear updates on how they are

Phase II deadline

Just a quick reminder the Phase II deadline is Oct 31!  As soon as the
proposals are finalized and reviewed by your SA, they will go directly
into the queue!

Updates to the PIPT

If you want to copy blocks from an old proposal to your current
proposal, you should upgrade to version 2.8 of the PIPT, which lets
you do this in an easy manner. See the Phase 2 FAQ for details:

You should also consider upgrading if your block lengths exceed 90 %
of the maximum available track length.

However, submitting your proposal with version 2.71 of the PIPT is
still possible.

Slotmode imaging on RSS

Despite SALTICAM not being available, high speed imaging can still be
done with RSS.  Observers who proposed for SALTICAM slotmode
observations for next semester can switch their configurations to use
slotmode imaging with RSS.  This mode was successfully tested out in
September and imaging can be done either with a clear filter or with
any of the existing narrow band filters.

RSS Slotmode Timing

A series of experiments were carried out to investigate the absolute
and relative accuracy of timing for RSS slotmode. An LED was placed
into the lightpath and was triggered by an independent GPS. The header
times of the slotmode images were compared with the start time and
pulse interval from the GPS.  The results indicated that the relative
timing is good to within the measurable accuracy (half an exposure
time, which was on the order of hundredths of a second) and that the
absolute timing was late by seven exposure times.  Previous tests
using SALTICAM slotmode showed the same effect on the header times
were in fact the readout times rather than the exposure times,
effectively neglecting the time required to transfer through the
masked region.  A timing correction for slotmode data from both
instruments is available in the nightly build of PySALT.

Updates to PySALT

We are starting to prepare for the next major release of PySALT, but
the nightly builds now has much new functionality that will be useful
to test out!  This includes reduction tools for SALT multi-object
spectroscopy, fixes for the slotmode timing, new tools for basic CCD
reduction, and general code updates.  Please download and try out the
nightly build and let us know of any thoughts.  Nightly Build:

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