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ING Instrumentation Update 2022-2023

Summary

  • The WHT will be entirely devoted to WEAVE in 2022 and 2023. Open-time access to WEAVE will be offered after WEAVE commissioning is completed, via a special call if needed.
  • The INT will offer WFC and IDS for all of 2023A/B and for, possibly, a fraction of 2024A.

Introduction

This page reports the current status of the instrumentation plans for the WHT and INT.

During 2022 and 2023, the ING continues a series of changes in the availability of instrumentation at the WHT and INT, driven by the upcoming commissioning of new instruments. The information below will help you to make the most of the evolving observing opportunities driven by the schedules for these instruments.

We welcome your questions, comments or requests for clarification. Please email Chris Benn, ING Head of Astronomy (crb@ing.iac.es) or me (director@ing.iac.es).

Changes at the WHT

  1. New survey instrument WEAVE. Integration of the WEAVE multi-fibre and multi-IFU spectrograph is completed. During the remainder of 2022 we aim to complete fine tuning, calibration and alignment of instrument and telescope. On-sky commissioning will be followed by science verification and, possibly already in 23A, the start of the WEAVE science surveys. Once commissioning is completed, open-time access to WEAVE (see point 3 below) will be offered via a special call if needed.

  2. Time distribution and instrumentation in the WEAVE surveys era. We encourage WHT users to read the WHT telescope time document in

    http://www.ing.iac.es/astronomy/whttime.html.

    In summary, the start of the WEAVE surveys will mark the transition of the WHT from a classical observing telescope to a mainly survey telescope. We will retain 30% as open time for allocation by the TACs. The instrumentation offered in open time will be WEAVE, ISIS, LIRIS, ACAM and visitor instruments. For visitor instruments the Cassegrain, GRACE (Nasmyth) and prime focal stations will be available. At prime, only the (pre-WEAVE) 40-arcmin corrector will be available for visitor instruments. Open time will be advertised to the community after commissioning of WEAVE is completed.

    Given the complexity of mounting and dismounting WEAVE, we plan the first science period with WEAVE to be significantly-longer than implied by the 9-month instrument change cadence advertised in previous communications. A plausible duration will be 2 years. During this time, the 30% open time will be entirely devoted to WEAVE open-time observations.

  3. Nasmyth visitor instruments. Visitor instruments requiring a Nasmyth focus (including those instruments formerly deployed in the GHRIL enclosure) can be deployed (when WEAVE is off the telescope) in the GRACE Nasmyth enclosure. GHRIL is no longer available for visiting instrtuments (the WEAVE spectrograph is now housed there). Teams proposing to observe with Nasmyth visitor instruments in future semesters need to communicate with the observatory to ensure any required changes are understood and agreed well in advance.

Changes at the INT

  1. HARPS3. The Cambridge-led THE (Terra-Hunting Experiment) Consortium is making steady progress in the construction of HARPS3 for deployment at the INT. HARPS3 is a high-resolution stabilised spectrograph which will conduct a 10-year survey aimed at discovering Earth-mass planets. The THE Consortium will carry out a full upgrade of the INT to allow for robotic operation. Half of the INT time will be devoted to the THE survey, the remainder being available as open time (most likely for robotic observations with HARPS3) to be allocated by the TACs.

  2. Downtime. The INT upgrade schedule calls for a stand-down during the first half of 2024, and the start of science surveys in the fall of 2024. We will provide regular updates on these plans, to allow users proper planning of their observing programmes.

  3. Instrument availability. Users may safely assume that the WFC and IDS will remain available throughout 2022A,B and possibly for part of 2023A.

    Both instruments will be decommissioned once the INT upgrade starts.

Marc Balcells, ING Director
Updated to 16th August 2022


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