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State of the Union

The operational union of WHT, UES, A&G, detectors and software is, at the time of writing, good-users express themselves happy with the facility and demand for bright time has now increased to the same level of oversubscription as demand for dark time. One exception in this happy state of affairs is the field size of the autoguider and slitviewer options; an enhancement is now being implemented, which will produce a more practical field of view, at the expense of (ultra-)violet capability of this subsystem.

The operational stability of UES itself over 12 hours of normal observing has been found to be of order 0.01 Å or 0.6 km/sec. This result is the best tribute imaginable to the basic soundness of the system design, which in turn dictated the mechanical structure. Use of the calibration light system allows effective stability over an entire observing run to be determined by the residual drifts over say 30 minutes or less; to make full use of the calibration facilities for the most stringent applications, lamps can be allowed to stabilise before a calibration exposure is started (observer-controlled shutter associated with each lamp).

Basic ICL control and MIMIC feedback seem to be reliable, but observer control by ICL procedures is in its infancy. During the next few years, a substantial improvement in this area may be expected, with resultant huge increases in observer efficiency for routine applications.

Mon Mar 14 16:50:31 GMT 1994