Daniel Fabricant
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO)
A member of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA)

Hectospec Status

August 15, 2001. The Hectospec fiber positioner successfully positioned several sequences of 100 fibers, and was able to either repark the fibers or move to another sequence. The fiber motion is so smooth that watching the robots move looks eerily like a simulation. The sequences were run at full speed, with an average move time of 1.7 seconds (2 seconds is the specification). We will shortly try full sequences of 300 fibers; the only difference should be the elapsed time.

The camera and collimator mirrors for the Hectospec spectrograph have been bonded into their mounts and put into position on the optical bench. The first of the two 0.4 meter corrector lenses has been bonded into its mount, and the other will be shortly.

September 13, 2001. The Hectospec fiber positioner has successfully sequenced between 20 sequences of 300 fibers, each in the allotted time of 300 seconds. No problems with button to button interference have been encountered. We are now planning to continue with the calibration.

All of the bench spectrograph optics have been bonded into their mounts. We will shortly perform the final alignment and make initial tests of image quality.

October 1, 2001. We have calibrated the relative tilt of the fiber positioner focal surface and the robots to 5 micron accuracy after removing tilts of less than 50 microns in software. The bench spectrograph alignment is underway.

July 30, 2002. The bench spectrograph alignment is complete and testing is complete. The image quality is excellent and in excellent agreement with ray tracing predictions. The bench spectrograph components are now being packed up with an anticipated ship date in August. Testing of the fiber positioner is essentially complete, and we anticipate shipping it in November after the Hectospec and Hectochelle bench spectrographs are installed at the MMT.

September 24, 2002. The bench spectrograph along with Hectochelle was shipped to the MMT during the last week of August. The Hectochelle camera mirror and camera corrector optics, as well as the Hectospec and Hectochelle optical benches, were craned into the MMT during the week of September 15th. The plan is to install the remaining optics this week. Electrical integration will begin during the first week of October, to be followed by optical alignment.

October 30, 2002. Optical alignment of the bench spectrograph at the MMT is complete. The remaining tasks include installation of optical baffles at the camera corrector lenses and dewar window and construction of a dark tent that will surround the Hectospec and Hectochelle bench spectrographs.

July 18, 2003. The fiber positioner arrived at the MMT and wass brought into its storage room. The first test fit of the fiber positioner on the the telescope is scheduled for the week of July 21st. Following fit checks, mechanical adjustments, and operational tests, the optical fibers will be installed.

August 9, 2003. The fiber positioner fit checks and electrical checkouts are complete. Installation of the optical fibers is underway and 35 of the 300 fibers have been installed. Fiber installation is expected to be completed in about 10 days. A small amount of mechanical work to ease installation of the fiber positioner will be performed in late August, and a number of calibrations will be carried out.

August 30, 2003. Installation of the 300 optical fibers is complete. Calibrations of fiber positioner robot gravitational deflections at elevation angles of 30, 60, and 90 degrees have been completed. First light on the sky is scheduled for late October.

December 31, 2003. First light observations in October were very successful. The guiding and alignment software was installed and debugged during the first three days of the run. Subsequently, approximately 2500 spectra were obtained during the commissioning observations. The robots performed flawlessly on the sky. The fiber positioner was used with the Hectochelle spectrograph in early December and again performed very well. During this run, first light data were obtained with Hectochelle.