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AKTUALNOŚCI 2013


2013.12.20

Status teleskopu SALT w grudniu 2013

Oto oryginalna wiadomość:

This will be the last SALT status update for 2013. Good luck for your 2014-1 proposals (deadline 31 Jan 2014 at 16:00 UT)! Best wished for a very happy, and productive, 2014!

======================
Recent Science Results
======================

Patel et al. included a SALT spectrum in their study of supernovae discovered as part of the HST CLASH program. Along with spectra from other telescopes, the SALT spectra helped identified the redshift of the faint host galaxy for one of the supernovae at z=1.14. http://arxiv.org/pdf/1312.0943v1.pdf

Tofflemire et al. used SALT spectra combined with X-ray observations to help determine the nature of T Pix from spectra taken almost 2 years after the outburst. http://arxiv.org/pdf/1311.2893v1.pdf

Gvaramadze et al. used SALT RSS spectra to study arc-like nebula around the late M-type star IRC-10414. SALT spectroscopic follow-up showed that the nebula is the result of shock excitation. This is the third case of a bow-shock-producing RSG (red super giants) and the first one with a bow shock visible at optical wavelengths. http://arxiv.org/pdf/1310.2245v2.pdf

Kilkenny et al. used BVIT observations to search for p-mode oscillations in white dwarf starts. Although they were able to recover known g-mode oscillations, no evidence for p-mode observations were observed down to 1 mmag. http://adsabs.harvard.edu/doi/10.1093/mnras/stt2029

======================
HRS Updates
======================

SALT's long-awaited High Resolution Spectrograph (HRS) arrived in South Africa at the end of August. The shipping container and multitude of air-freight crates were delivered to Sutherland at the start of September and the instrument team busied themselves for the next three weeks with the extensive re-assembly process. First light was achieved on 28 September 2013 and the commissioning team has since been taking data on a regular basis. All of the instrument's modes have now been commissioned successfully and spectra have already been obtained for 13 of the 19 HRS Science Verification (SV) programmes. Commissioning data are still being analysed and we eagerly await whatever feedback SV PI's have to offer. SV observations will resume in mid-January and are due to continue through March. Work on the HRS Quick-Look software and data pipeline is ongoing and the new astronomer-level GUI for running HRS is due to be delivered in February. See the SALT Astro blog for numerous HRS posts throughout September and a couple scattered through October to December.

======================
SALT VODAS
======================

The SALT virtual observatory data archive service is now available! VODAS allows the user to search the SALT data archive for all publicly available SALT data. This includes data from all commissioning proposals included HRS, all calibration data taken for SALT, and data from any proposal past its proprietary period. VODAs was created in a joint collaboration between SAAO and IUCAA. Users can access VODAS here: http://vodas.salt.ac.za/

======================
SALT in the News
======================

Here are some recent highlights of SALT appearing in the news:

SALT is highlighted as leading the development of new wave of telescopes throughout Africa in this CNN article: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/12/12/tech/innovation/africas-super-telescopes

SALT has successfully starting following up supernova from the Dark Energy Survey by a project being led by Mat Smith at the University of the Western Cape: http://ewn.co.za/2013/11/11/SA-starts-hunt-for-Dark-Energy

======================
SALT Borad papers
======================

For those interested, the papers presented at the SALT meeting in Mafikeng in Nov 2013 are now available here: http://pysalt.salt.ac.za/meetings/mafeking_SALT/

For information of the one day scientific program that was held, please see the saltastro blog post: http://saltastro.blogspot.com/2013/11/salt-science-day.html

======================================
Updates for the 2014-1 Proposal Cycle
======================================

The two most significant updates for the 2014-1 proposal cycle is the availability of long term proposal status and the availability of director discretionary time. However, there have also been a number of smaller changes that users may find helpful. For the full details, please see the call for proposals, but here is a list of most relevant changes since the last semester:

* For the new information on HRS see Section 8.

* The BVIT iris has been closed slightly, again, reducing the field of view. This change was made to lower overall background counts and allow higher flux for fainter targets. See Section 9 for details.

* The finder chart tool is being updated to allow plotting of non-sidereal targets. We expect that it will be fully operational during the upcoming semester.

* Subtraction of a master bias frame for faint/slow mode on RSS is now suggested. As such, bias frames for faint/slow mode are now part of the default calibration and the pipeline will start applying them during 2014-1.

* There is a website giving all up-to-date telescope and instrument information: http://salt4scientist.salt.ac.za/

* Acquisitions are not expected to be of science quality. A note explaining this is in Section 2.3.

* Long term proposals are now accepted and the Phase 1 PIPT caters for them. See Section 3.1 and 11.4.

* Director's Discretionary Time (DDT) policy is now defined. See Section 3.2 and 11.5.

* There is a new late submission policy for Phase 1 detailed in Section 11.8

* There is a new section in the Phase 1 PIPT to input a brief summary of the program for the general public.

* The template for the science case has changed. Please make sure you use the version for 2014-1, which you can download from http://salt4scientist.salt.ac.za/phase-i-proposal-templates/.



2013.12.18

Wnioski obserwacyjne na 1 semestr 2014

Oto oryginalna wiadomość:

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to inform you that we are now accepting SALT Phase 1 proposals for the period 01 May 2014 - 31 October 2014 (2014 Semester 1) The Phase 1 proposal deadline will be 31 January 2014 at 18:00 SAST (corresponding to 16:00 UTC).

Please note that this proposal call is for SALTICAM, BVIT, HRS, and RSS, but with some modes, such as Fabry-Perot HR, still on a "best efforts" basis (i.e. no guarantees regarding performance or completion), or not available at all. In particular, we will not accept polarimetric proposals, although it may be possible that we'll reactivate previous polarimetric commissioning proposals later in the semester should this mode becomes available.

For this next semester, there are two types of new proposals:
* Longterm status: Allocations spanning multiple semesters can now be requested when proposing for time.
* Director's Discretionary Time: DDT proposals will be accepted at any time throughout the semester (and are also available for 2013-2). For more details, please see the Call for Proposals (link below).

We have updated the comprehensive information document for all proposers with the current performance status of the telescope and instruments. In addition, the PIPT has also been revised. Additional information and links to relevant webpages or documents are also included to assist proposers in writing their Phase 1 applications.

Please submit your proposal via the SALT Principal Investigator Proposal Tool (PIPT). Instructions, software, and other information about proposing for SALT can be found on the SALT website.

Call for Proposals, including link to information document: http://salt4scientist.salt.ac.za/

Instructions for submitting your proposal: http://salt4scientist.salt.ac.za/phase-i/

Download the PIPT software: http://salt4scientist.salt.ac.za/pipt/

All questions regarding this proposal call should be address to: salthelp(at)salt.ac.za


Sincerely,

David Buckley.

SALT Astronomy Operations Manager on behalf of the SALT Astronomy Operations Team



2013.09.30

Oto oryginalna wiadomość:

Phase II proposals are due 15 October and no late proposals are accepted. If you have a ToO proposal with unknown targets, you still must submit your phase II with dummy targets.

=================
HRS First Light
=================

The team from Durham and SALT Tech Ops have been busy in Sutherland re-assembling HRS and integrating the telescope with the rest of the instrument. The instrument saw first light on Saturday, 28 Sept and Lisa Crause shares all the details on the SALT Astronomy Blog: http://saltastro.blogspot.com/2013/09/hrs-first-light.html

======================
Recent Science Results
======================

It's great to see a plethora of new SALT papers come out over the last two months with papers from South Africa, UK Salt Consortium, Poland, and Dartmouth:

B. Miszalski use SALT observations to study a barium star in the planetary nebula Hen 2-39. Classical barium stars are binary systems which consist of a late-type giant enriched in carbon and slow neutron capture (s-process) elements and an evolved white dwarf (WD) that is invisible at optical wavelengths. For more details, see: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2013arXiv1309.5239M

SALT observation of 1SWASP J234401.81-212229.1 by M. Lohr et al. have only deepened the mystery about this variable star with a period of 18461.6 seconds. The SALT observations did not support an interpretation of an eclipsing binary, but the possibilities of a multiple star system is the most likely explanation for the variability. For more details: http://uk.arxiv.org/abs/1309.1666

Hryniewicz et al. submitted their first paper on high redshift QSO's looking at the variability in the Mg II and Fe II components of the spectra. They find both components vary in time but the shape does not change significantly. For more details, please see: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2013arXiv1308.3980H

C. Koen et al. used SALT long slit spectrum to classify UNSW-V-760, a known variable star, with a spectral type of K3 IV-Vk. The star shows an excess of Lithium as well very rapid rotation, but the excitation mechanism for the pulsations remains to be found. http://adsabs.harvard.edu/doi/10.1093/mnras/stt1478

L. Catala et al. reported on the first year of site monitoring data at Sutherland. In the first year, the overall median seeing value is found to be 1.32" at ground level. Using a DIMM, MASS, and SLODAR instrumentation, they were able to construct the overall atmospheric profile for the site. For more details, please see: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2013arXiv1308.5456C

====================
SALT AGN in the News
====================

A recent news article highlighted the work of Ryan Hickox and Kevin Hainline from Dartmouth to study AGN using SALT: http://now.dartmouth.edu/... And here's the link to the full paper on how they used SALT to measure the sizes of narrow line regions around obscured AGN: http://arxiv.org/abs/1307.5852


===========
PySALT 0.45
===========

We are happy to announce the release of PySALT v0.45. This version includes several improvements to the saltspec and saltred packages The specidentify now includes better line identification and automation. All the major tasks in the saltred package now work with variance and bad pixel frames and will properly propagate the errors through the reductions. Finally, the source code is now hosted on github.

To download the most recent version: http://pysalt.salt.ac.za/

To access the source code on github: https://github.com/saltastro/pysalt

====================
New PIPT and Manual
====================

Before starting your phase 2 proposal for the 2013-2 semester, please ensure that you've downloaded version 3.0.3 of the PIPT. Otherwise you will get the somewhat cryptical eror "Cannot convert element".

You can download the latest version of the PIPT from http://salt4scientist.salt.ac.za/pipt/.

The SALT web site now also has a PIPT help page, which can be accessed at http://salt4scientist.salt.ac.za/pipt/pipt-help/. Most notably this help page contains a link to the new PIPT manual, which is currently being written. Content for this manual will be published as it becomes available. If you are missing something in the manual and need it for completing your proposal, please don't hesitate to send an email to salthelp@saao.ac.za.

===============
Fringing report
===============

Petri Vaisanen has produced a new report on fringing in RSS data. He finds a good correction can be done using calibration screen flat fields taken together with the dataset, but for the best fringe (and sky) removal multiple frames with offsets along the slit, dithering, is required. The latter would be necessary for diffuse and faint sources while flats only are needed for bright objects. The full report is on the Science Wiki. https://sciencewiki.salt.ac.za/.../SALT_RSS_fringing.pdf



2013.07.31

With the deadline for SALT proposals approaching (1 August 2013 at 18:00 SAST (16:00 UT)), here are some important updates.

=================================
Wrong RSS Simulator in PIPT 3.0.0
=================================

Please avoid using the "View" button for instrument simulations in version 3.0.0 of the PIPT - it launches an RSS Simulator with a known bug that gives erroneous results for the PG1300 grating. The bug is fixed in version 3.0.1 of the PIPT, which you may download from

http://salt4scientist.salt.ac.za/pipt/

No stand-alone version of the RSS Simulator is affected by this bug, but you are nonetheless encouraged to download and use the latest RSS Simulator version (4.0.0). It is available from

http://salt4scientist.salt.ac.za/simulators-and-other-tools/

============================================
Titles in the previous proposal information
============================================

If you are submitting a proposal for which you aren't the PI, you may face the problem that you need to submit previous proposal information, but you cannot add the titles. The solution is to use the latest version of the PIPT (3.0.1), which is available at

http://salt4scientist.salt.ac.za/pipt/

and which lets you submit without the title.

If you are the PI for the proposal, you can just use the "Get info from server" button.

======================
Last minute questions
======================

If you have any last minute questions please don't hesitate to send an email to salthelp@salt.ac.za. In case your question is specific to your proposal, it is a good idea to export the proposal as a zip file (there is a menu item for that in the File menu of the PIPT) and to attach the zip file to your email.



2013.07.23

Status teleskopu SALT w lipcu 2013

Oto oryginalna wiadomość:

Lots and lots of updates in this SALT Status Update for July! Quick reminder that 2013-2 proposals are due on 1 August and HRS science verification proposals are due on 15 August. Please see http://salt4scientist.salt.ac.za/ for more details.

======================
Recent Science Results
======================

Strum et al. included SALT observations of their study of the interesting X-ray binary SXP 1062. The neutron star in this source has a large spin rate and spin down rate, and this makes it an interesting candidate to study accretion physics. Comparing the properties of the SALT spectrum to previous observations indicated an increasing size or density to the disc around the star. For more details, please see: http://arxiv.org/abs/1304.6022


=======================
SALT Astronomer Vacancy
=======================

A new SALT astronomer position is currently being advertised following Tim Pickering's resignation to take up a position at STScI. The deadline for applications is 31 August and for more details, please see: http://www.saao.ac.za/salt-astronomer/

=======================
SALT Talks
=======================

There have been a wide range of talks given about SALT recently. Here are links to some of them:

Science talks at the Warsaw board meeting: http://pysalt.salt.ac.za/meetings/board_20130521/

Lisa Crause's updates on the HRS and Collimator upgrade (lots of pictures): http://pysalt.salt.ac.za/talks/SALT_Spectrographs.pdf

Steve Crawford's talk to the ThunderKATs group (with audio recording of the talk): http://pysalt.salt.ac.za/talks/salt_thundercat_20130711.mov

If you have given a talk recently about SALT or your SALT observations and you would like us to host a copy, please let us know about it at salthelp@salt.ac.za.

=======================
SALT HRS Update
=======================

At the end of this week the HRS is being shipped to SALT following its dismantling after the last finishing touches and testing. Although the throughput measurements in the lab were not as straightforward to do as anticipated, the results seem to indicate values fairly close to the predictions. One task completed just before disassembly was the gluing of small thin anti-reflection coated glass disks to the fibre inputs, to improve throughput and focal ratio degradation and mitigate against dust. With the High Resolution Spectrograph's imminent migration from Durham to Sutherland, there has been a wide range of activities in preparation for it. Please see Lisa Crause's blog posts to get all of the updates including first light for the fibre feed!

http://saltastro.blogspot.com/2013/07/coming-soon-to-telescope-near-us.html http://saltastro.blogspot.com/2013/07/installing-fibre-instrument-feed.html http://saltastro.blogspot.com/2013/07/first-light-for-fif.html

As a reminder, the call for HRS science verification proposals closes on 15 Aug (see http://salt4scientist.salt.ac.za/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/SALTHRS-SV-Call.pdf).


========================
SAMS (edge sensor) update
========================

Due to a combination of factors, the factory acceptance testing of the first batch of edge sensors has had to be postponed from mid-July to late September. The encouraging news is that the behaviour of all the sensors tested to date, in terms of temperature and humidity insensitivity, is within specification. The first subarray tests (the 7 central segments) are now due to begin in the latter part of the year.


============================
Abstracts for SALT Proposals
============================

Interested in what science other partners are doing? SALT abstracts are now available via the WebManager for all members of the SALT consortium. Click on the 'Abstract' tab in the WM menu to access the abstracts for the last three semesters.

============================
Data Downloads
============================

Principle contacts for a proposal can now request to download data of past observations as well as observations of spectrophotometric standard stars from the WebManager. From the 'Summary of executed observations' table on the proposal page, check the box for 'Request data' or 'Request spectrophotometric standards', click on submit, and the data should be staged for you to download within 24 hours. The principle contact will receive an email with the link to the data as soon as it is ready for you to access.


============================
RSS Simulator Update
============================

To improve the performance of the RSS, the zeropoint for the articulation angle will be reset for the 2013-2 Semester. This should result in an increase in the throughput for observations done in littrow, however, this will result in the predicted wavelength of the observations shifting. This change will only come into effect on 1 November for the 2013-2 semester, but please use the most recent version of the RSS simulator (v4.0) for the most up to date simulations.

===============================
Analysis of Velocity Stability
===============================

Alexei Kniazev has provide a report on the velocity stability of RSS spectroscopy as measured for emission line sources. The report has been posted on the Science Wiki and is accessible here:
https://sciencewiki.salt.ac.za/index.php/ RSS:_Radial_Velocity_Accuracy_using_Emission_Lines

=============================
Director's Discretionary Time
=============================

At the last board meeting, the Board decided to allocate 5 hours of discretionary time to the SALT Science Operations Manager (David Buckley) starting in 2013-2. Details of how this will be managed still need to be finalized by the SSC, but if you are interested in applying for this time at some point, please contact salthelp@salt.ac.za.

============================
Website Questionnaire
============================

Want to help improve the quality of the SALT website? Please take a moment to complete the following questionnaire by August 1 and provides some insight on how we are doing: http://salt4scientist.salt.ac.za/salt-website-questionnaire-2013/



2013.07.06

Konkurs wniosków obserwacyjnych na 2 semestr 2013 roku

Oto oryginalna wiadomość:

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to inform you that we are now accepting SALT Phase 1 proposals for the period 01 Nov. 2013 - 30 April 2014 (2013 Semester 2) The Phase 1 proposal deadline will be 01 August 2013 at 18:00 SAST (corresponding to 16:00 UTC).

Please note that this proposal call is for SALTICAM, BVIT, HRS, and RSS, but with some modes, such as Fabry-Perot HR and HRS, still on a "best efforts" basis (i.e. no guarantees regarding performance or completion), or not available at all. In particular, we will not accept polarimetric proposals, although it may be possible that we'll reactivate previous polarimetric commissioning proposals later in the semester should this mode becomes available.

*******************************************************************
SALT HRS science verification proposals are solicited, with the call opening on 1 July 2013 and a deadline for applications by 15 August 2013. A simulation tool for HRS is also available.

HRS science proposals may be submitted for targets viewable in 2013-2. Since there is no on-sky HRS data at the time of this call, these observations will be undertaken solely on a best-efforts basis.
*******************************************************************

We have updated the comprehensive information document for all proposers with the current performance status of the telescope and instruments. In addition, the PIPT and Simulation Tools have also been revised. Additional information and links to relevant webpages or documents are also included to assist proposers in writing their Phase 1 applications.

Please submit your proposal via the SALT Principal Investigator Proposal Tool (PIPT). Instructions, software, and other information about proposing for SALT can be found on the SALT website.

Call for Proposals, including link to information document:
http://salt4scientist.salt.ac.za/

SALT HRS science verification proposals document:
http://salt4scientist.salt.ac.za/

Instructions for submitting your proposal:
http://salt4scientist.salt.ac.za/phase-i/

Download the PIPT software:
http://salt4scientist.salt.ac.za/pipt/

All questions regarding this proposal call should be address to: salthelp(at)salt.ac.za



Sincerely,

David Buckley.

SALT Astronomy Operations Manager
on behalf of the SALT Astronomy Operations Team



2013.07.01

Konkurs wniosków obserwacyjnych służących do weryfikacji spektrografu wysokiej rozdzielczości.

Oto oryginalna wiadomość:

The announcment will also appear on the SALT "astronomers" page (http://salt4scientist.salt.ac.za/) by the time of the call opening on 1 July. At the same time the HRS simulation & PIPT tools will be available for submission of SV proposals (and 2013-2 proposals).

HRS completed most of its ATP tests as scheduled on 3 & 4 June, but there are still a number of smaller tasks needed to complete before shipping, which is now expected to be within a matter of weeks. One such task is attempting throughput measurements (with calibrated diodes). which is underway, but its unclear if a particularly meaningful answer will eventuate before the instrument is disassembled and shipped. So we will most likely only have these measured reliably once on-sky in August. However, as stated in the attached document, the simulation tool has incorporated many actual performance numbers (lab measurement) and includes factors to account for current uncertainties over the fibre injection efficiency and telescope delivered image quality.

Apart from the uncharged SV time to begin this semester (late in 2013-1, extending into 2013-2), we will also be accepting charged HRS proposals for the 2013-2 semester (i.e. from 1 Nov - 30 Apr), on a *best efforts* basis, since at the time of the proposal deadline (1 August), we will not have actual on-sky performance numbers at hand. Since the community are keen to access HRS at the earliest possibility, this approach should satisfy this desire, I hope.

Finally, next week we will be issuing the call for Phase 1 proposals for 2013-2 semester, with the deadline of 1 August. The usual pre-call information document will be updated accordingly, including with HRS information (from the attached document), ahead of the call.



Kind regards, David.

Oficjalny dokument: SALTHRS-SV-Call_final.pdf



2013.05.31

Status teleskopu SALT w maju 2013

Oto oryginalna wiadomość:

======================
Recent Science Results
======================

Kniazev et al. (RSA) reported SALT observations of the third closest star to the Solar System: the brown dwarf pair known as WISE J104915.57-531906.1. These observations spectroscopically confirm the binary nature of the system through measurements of the radial velocity of both components, which indicate that they are a gravitationally bound system. For more details, please see: http://arxiv.org/abs/1303.7171

Brent Miszalski (RSA), Joanna Mikolajewska (Pol), and Andrzej Udalski (Pol) use SALT spectra of a high density (symbiotic-like) nucleus of the planetary nebula K2-17 to indicate that a binary system might be present. This discovery adds to a handful of other similar systems presented in this paper and elsewhere whose nature is poorly understood at present. For more details, please see: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1305.4863v1.pdf

Childress et al. include a SALT spectrum in their 65 spectroscopic observations of a luminous Type Ia supernova. In this work, done in collaboration with Saurabh Jha (RU) and Curtis McCully (RU), the spectra show clear evidence for high velocity features at early times. The SALT spectrum was obtained 14 days before maximum and is the second earliest spectra by only a few hours. The observations were obtained only 5 hours after the target was submitted to the queue. For more details, please see: http://arxiv.org/abs/1302.2926

===============
HRS First Light
===============

First light in the laboratory for the High Resolution Spectrograph's red and blue arms was achieved during May. HRS is expected to go through pre-ship testing at the beginning of June and then be shipped to South Africa where integration with the telescope is expected to commence in August. Keep an eye on the SALT blog for more details of the HRS commissioning!

An example of the first images can be seen here: http://saltastro.blogspot.com/2013/05/high-resolution-spectrograph-red-arm.html

===============
SALTICAM Update
===============

On May 10, SALTICAM was re-installed on the telescope and has been functioning as the acquisition camera since then. Preliminary tests of the throughput and image quality indicate that SALTICAM has similar performance to when it was previously installed, however further tests are needed to confirm that it is still performing to specification. Further results will be reported on the SALT wiki as they become available and the SALT Astronomy blog.

==============================
Upgrade to the RSS Collimator
==============================

Work is currently underway to replace the RSS collimator, which has been the source of the lower than expected throughput on RSS. Ockert Strydom, SALT Mechanical Engineer, and his team are currently in the processes of procuring an upgrade for the RSS collimator. The new collimator would include a new design that does not include the old problematic coupling fluid. The current schedule sees the old collimator being replaced in January 2014 and that should result in a significant increase in the throughput of the system.

============
PySALT v0.42
============

We are pleased to announce the release of PySALT v0.42. The latest version of the software includes a number of improvements to the basic reduction package, a wide range of bug fixes, improved installation of the Fabry-Perot package, and the introduction MOS reductions to the SALTSPEC package. Please see the RELEASE NOTES for the full update of the package. The new package can be download from the PySALT user page: http://pysalt.salt.ac.za/



2013.04.17

Status teleskopu SALT w kwietniu 2013

Oto oryginalna wiadomość:

======================
Tips for Investigators
======================

The following guidelines should be followed by investigators to maximize their chance of proposal completeness:

1. To maximize the probability of being observed, in any priority, PIs should make block lengths the average time of tracks and not the maximum time of tracks, if at all possible. (See TTT syndrome for more details).

2. PIs should relax their observing constraints as much as possible. *This is especially true for lower priority blocks.*

3. If the science allows it, submitting a large set optional of targets in a wide range of RAs will significantly improve the chances of getting observations. This is best and easiest done by making maximum use of Pools, and already defining the targets in Phase-1. One can also add new targets (only allowed for same science and after approval from TAC and Ast Ops) if their target has gone out of season.

4. Setups for P4 proposals should be limited to one configuration.

More informaiton can be found on the Phase II tips and tricks page: http://salt4scientist.salt.ac.za/tips-and-tricks/

===========================
Watch out for TTT-Syndrome!
===========================

TTT (Too Tight Tracks) syndrome affects a large percentage of observing blocks currently in the queue. The symptoms are blocks that require observations which are too close to their maximum track times. Generally this is due to an overzealous PI's effort at maximizing scientific return from TAC time allocations by minimizing time spent on overheads (especially expensive acquisitions). However, if a block has TTT syndrome, it means we can only observe it if we happen to be ready to point to a new target within a very short (minutes) window of the start of its visibility window - if we are not, it will have to wait until the next window. Add to this limitation some Moon constraints, and TTT-blocks can quickly go out of season without having been observed/completed. TTT-syndrome is a very serious problem that can lead to severe constraints to the flow of data to the PI and, ultimately, research project death. The good news, however, is that there are preventative measures that can be taken to ensure healthy observing blocks. Firstly, Dr. PIPT will give a warning if a block requires more than 90% of its maximum track time. Secondly, the problem needs to be understood. We strongly suggest PIs load a few representative blocks into the visibility calculator (version 3.8 or later) and select the first tab, entitled 'track length' (see http://pysalt.salt.ac.za/SALT/tracks.jpeg). This tab displays the maximum track time at for a target any given time during the selected night. It is important to note that there are many different track shapes, depending on the Dec of the object, and they are not necessarily symmetric. With these plots in mind, PIs can then easily optimize their block observing time so as to maximize scientific output while minimizing the chances of TTT.

===============
SALTICAM Update
===============

Regrettably, during the lab testing in mid-Feb, the SALTICAM optics were subjected to condensation, potentially compromising SALTICAM's ability to do science due to potential degradation of the anti-reflection coatings (still to be quantified). SALTICAM will be returned to the telescope as soon as possible, probably by late April/early May, to conduct tests, including throughput. Should it prove that indeed the instrument is so compromised that it cannot undertake the approved science programs, then we will offer RSS as a surrogate imager in its plane, until such time as the SALTICAM optics are repaired or replaced. This will mean that the existing SALTICAM science functions can be carried out with RSS in imaging mode. To allow for this we are modifying 6 spare RSS filter holders to allow them to take the different size and shape SALTICAM filters. While RSS was never designed to support broadband imaging (due to lateral colour effects), we believe that in the most part there will be no significant degradation in delivered image quality, particularly for the Stroemgren filters due to the better matching of thickness (7.5 mm) to the narrow band RSS filters (8 mm). We therefore allow for the option for approved SALTICAM programs to be carried out with RSS. Of course the efficiency of such programs will be less than for SALTICAM due in part to the different instrument design (which has more optical elements), but mainly due to the current RSS low throughput issues.

We have still to complete definitive image quality tests on RSS using the SALTICAM filters, to confirm our predictions, which requires (rare) good seeing. Likewise we will need to determine the optimal focus positions for each filter, since focus is expected to be more wavelength dependent. In addition, because the the Sloan and Johnson-Cousins filters are thinner (5 mm), then the telescope will need to be re-focused to achieve good focus on the detector. This will mean that the guidance images will be out of focus, which could compromise the guiding performance, so requiring short (< few minute) exposures.

All of the other SALTICAM modes (Frame Transfer and Slotmode imaging) are also supported on RSS. We expect to make changes to the PIPT shortly (in a week or so) to allow for the SALTICAM filters to be selected for use in RSS. In the meantime, for submission of 2013-1 programs, PIs should indicate their desired filters in the notes to the observers.



2013.03.02

Status teleskopu SALT w marcu 2013

Oto oryginalna wiadomość:

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Discovery of Rare Central Star for a Planetary Nebulae
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From the SALT RSS spectrum of the planetary nebulae Abell 48, H. Todt and collaborators discover that the central star is a [WN] type instead of the more usual [WC] type. This is only the third PN discovered with this type of central star. The paper is now in press and more details can be found here: http://mnras.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/02/07/mnras.stt056

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SALT catches stellar flare
==========================

High Speed spectroscopic observations for Ben Brown at University of Wisconsin caught YZ CMi going through a flare back in Jan 2012. They have turned the spectra into a movie where you can watch how the spectra changes over the course of an hour: http://www.astro.wisc.edu/~bpbrown/Movies/SALT_megaflare_movie_spectra_v2.mov Look for the exciting science result to be published soon!

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2013-1 Proposals
==============================

The TACs are currently deliberating on their allocations for 2013-1 semester, but in the end, we saw 110 proposals submitted asking for a total of 1789.1 hours from an available 968.2 hours for the semester. This resulted in a total over-subscription rate of 1.85, although the subscription rate does vary between the individual partners. Further details of the proposal process will be posted on the saltastro blog.

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Changes to Proposal Management
==============================

As of now, all PIs can unfinalize their proposal in the Web Manager. So PIs no longer need to request to have their proposal unfinalized when they want to update their proposals. The proposal will still go through technical review by their liaison SA, so PI's should monitor it to make sure the proposal is re-activated and added to the queue.

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BVIT Commissioning
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Commissioning observations commenced for visitor instrument BVIT (the Berkeley Visible Imaging Tube; http://bvit.ssl.berkeley.edu/) during the week of 12-20 February 2013. The BVIT PI, Barry Welsh, worked at the telescope with SALT astronomer Amanda Gulbis and postdoc Marissa Kotze. The instrument had been dormant since November 2012, when the refurbished and upgraded hardware were tested and verified. Since then, nine commissioning proposals were received requesting a total of 33 hours. Projects range from exoplanet transits to cataclysmic systems to pulsars. The start of commissioning observations was successful, with good data quality and no significant issues. BVIT is open for science proposals from semester 2013-1.

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SALTICAM Status
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Work has continued with the SALTICAM modifications and has progressed to full environmental testing in the cold room, involving a range of temperatures. Unfortunately the schedule for completion has slipped significantly, partly a result of the discovery of small particulate contamination on the CCDs and cryostat windows. The contamination has been removed, but SALTICAM is unlikely to return to the telescope before 24 April 2013. For full details of the current status of SALTICAM, please see: https://sciencewiki.salt.ac.za/images_sciencewiki.salt.ac.za/b/b3/SALT-astops-BEC47.pdf

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HRS Status
==================

The High Resolution Spectrograph continues to make good progress and is currently on schedule for pre-ship testing in Mid-April and arrival at SALT in mid-June. The most recent milestone was first light for the red arm. Mounting of the echelle grating and final optical alignment are the last major tasks remaining before the pre-ship testing. For more details, please see: https://sciencewiki.salt.ac.za/images_sciencewiki.salt.ac.za/b/b3/SALT-astops-BEC47.pdf

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Pipeline Updates
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Starting from March 1, PI's will have more options to download their data and what data sets they receive. Users can still download their tarball containing both the raw and reduced data or they can just download the individual raw, reduced, and documentation data sets.



2013.01.22

Wnioski obserwacyjne na nowy instrument BVIT

Rozpocząłęło się przyjmowanie wniosków obserwacyjnych na okres próbny dla instrumentu Berkeley Visible Image Tube camera (BVIT). Obserwacje mają być przeprowadzone do końca drugiego semestru 2012 (do 30 kwietnia 2013 r.). Na ten cel zostało przeznaczone około 30 godzin obserwacji. Programy mają sprawdzić możliwości instrumentu dla różnych, krótkich programów obserwacyjnych. Programy te nie będą obciążać konta udziałowców SALT.

BVIT jest instrumentem zbudowanym w Space Science Laboratory of the University of California-Berkeley. Jest to camera zliczająca fotony w polu widzenia o rozmiarze około 1.9 minuty łuku. Charakteryzuje się wysoką rozdzielczością czasową rzędu milisekund, a nawet mikrosekund. Można wykonywać fotometrię w filtrach B, V, R oraz H-alfa, dla obiektów o jasnościach od 12 do 20 magnitudo.

Wnioski należy składać w terminie do 10 lutego za pomocą PIPT w części przeznaczonej dla 2 fazy aplikacji.

Oto oryginalna wiadomość na ten temat:

Dear Colleague,

We invite submissions of Berkeley Visible Image Tube camera (BVIT) science commissioning programs to be carried out during the remainder of 2012 Semester 2 (i.e. up to 30 April 2013). A small allocation of time (~30h) is set aside for this and the purpose is to exercise the instrument and to test its performance on a variety of short programs. These programs will not be charged.

BVIT is a visitor instrument built at the Space Science Laboratory of the University of California-Berkeley. It is a photon-counting camera with a ~1.9 arcmin field of view, capable of very high time resolution (millisec or microsec) photometry with a B, V, R or H-alpha filter. It can be used for objects with magnitudes ranging from V~12-20.

Please note that BVIT does not provide high precision absolute photometry, but by observing nearby standard stars a flux intensity relative precision of ~ 5% can typically be obtained. Every detected photon is assigned a time of arrival and a (x,y) position on the detector, which allows an observer a high degree of post-acquisition data analysis flexibility.

Users should also be aware that the instrument does not have an autoguider, although guidance checks can be done as needed by interrupting observations for ~1 min. Typically we can observe without guidance corrections for up to ~50 min, depending on the object position.

Applications can be completed using the usual Phase 2 PIPT proposal form, selecting the "commissioning" button. The scientific justification needs not to be too detailed or lengthy and should simply summarize the particular regime or aspect of the instrument that will be tested, and the type of target to be observed and its parameters. The observing conditions and observation details can be entered with the PIPT, as usual.

Proposals should ideally be submitted by 10 Feb and will be selected by the BVIT instrument team, in conjunction with SALT Astronomy Operations, with priority to those programs expanding the parameter space of the instrument.

Regards,
David Buckley



2013.01.14

Uchwała Polskiej Rady Użytkowników Teleskpu SALT
z dnia 22.10.2012
Mając na względzie efektywne wykorzystanie danych uzyskiwanych w ramach polskiego czasu obserwacyjnego na teleskopie SALT Rada postanawia:

  1. Obserwacje uzyskane w ramach normalnych jedno-semestralnych programów stają się dostępne dla polskiej społeczności astronomicznej po upływie 12 miesiecy od zakończenia danego semestru.
  2. W przypadku programów wymagających obserwacji przez szereg semestrów kierownik projektu może wystapić do Rady Użytkowników o nadanie programowi statusu długoterminowego. Taki status może być nadawany programom wymagającym dłuższego moniotorowania z góry określonej grupy obiektów lub realizacji programu typu przeglądowego. Chęć obserwowania przez szereg semestrów obiektów podobnego typu nie musi oznaczać, że dany program zostanie uznany za długoterminowy. W przypadku programów długoterminowych dane będą udostępniane polskiej społeczności po 18 miesiącach od zakończenia ostatniego semestru obserwacji.
  3. Wszystkie obserwacje będą umieszczane w otwartej publicznej bazie danych po upływie 3 lat od zakończenia ostatniego semestru obserwacji w ramach danego programu.