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AKTUALNOŚCI 2014


2014.12.18

Konkurs wniosków obserwacyjnych na 1 semestr 2015 roku

Do 2 lutego można składać wnioski obserwacyjne (faza 1) na wszystkie instrumenty teleskopu SALT na okres od 1 maja 2015 roku do 31 października 2015 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 May 2015 - 31 October 2015 (2015 Semester 1) The Phase 1 proposal deadline will be 2 February 2015 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.

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://astronomers.salt.ac.za/

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

Download the PIPT software:
http://astronomers.salt.ac.za/software/#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



2014.09.19

Spektrograf RSS wyłączony do końca semestru

Oto oryginalna wiadomość:

Dear Colleagues,

With RSS currently off the telescope, we have several gaps in the queue. At this time, we do not expect RSS to be available for the remainder of the semester. As such, we would like to offer consortium members the opportunity to fill these gaps through one of three processes:

(1) PIs of *existing* 2014-1 proposals with unused time may use their remaining time on HRS, SALTICAM or BVIT. The telescope time will be charged as with any normal proposal. This may involve target, instrument and even science case changes, but it is time that would otherwise be lost. PIs should re-submit their proposals with the new configurations or targets. If no time is remaining on your proposal, you can make a request to your TAC chair for additional allocation of time.

(2) Any consortium member may submit a new "P4-Commissioning" proposal, which would be automatically granted the observing time requested as P4 time (gap fillers). This proposal can be for HRS, SALTICAM, or BVIT. We strongly suggest selecting targets with large visibilities to allow for easy acquisition of the targets and/or targets with Right Ascensions between 16-7h and Declinations that are either equatorial or near the Large or Small Magellanic clouds. No time will be charged to the individual partners for these proposals.

To submit a new "P4-Commissioning" proposal, simply select "Commissioning" when creating a new proposal in the PIPT - this will be already phase 2. Once created, please go to Proposal -> change semester and select 2014-1.

(3) PI's of 2014-2 proposals for HRS, SALTICAM, or BVIT are strongly encouraged to submit their Phase 2's early. As soon as the Phase 2 is submitted, it will be reviewed, activated by a SALT Astronomer, and then added to the observing queue. The telescope time will be charged as with any normal proposal.

Please note that, due to current repairs and work on the telescope and instruments, we may not be fully operational at various times. Please keep an eye on the SALT website and astronomy blog for more details or feel free to email us at salthelp@salt.ac.za for more information.

Sincerely,
Astronomy Operations


2014.09.05

Raport o stanie teleskopu SALT we wrześniu 2014

Oto oryginalna wiadomość:

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

de Martino et al. measure the properties of the peculiar low mass X-ray binary XSS J12270-4859 http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2014arXiv1408.6138D

Onofrio and Wegner use RSS spectroscopy of white dwarfs to set the first upper bound of astrophysical origin on the coupling between the Higgs field and the Kreschmann curvature invariant. http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2014ApJ...791..125O

Miszalski, Mikolajewska, and Udalski report on the discovery of a new Small Magellanic Cloud symbiotic star, OGLE-SMC-LPV-00861: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2014MNRAS.444L..11M

Karachentsev et al. used RSS to measure Ha velocity of the nearby gas-poor dwarf transition galaxy KK258 = ESO468-020 http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2014MNRAS.443.1281K

Gvaramadze et al. used SALT RSS observations for spectral studies of first discovery of a Wolf-Rayet (WR) star in the Large Magellanic Cloud via detection of a circular shell with the Spitzer Space Telescope http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2014MNRAS.442..929G

Oszkiewicz et al. used SALT spectroscopic to test methods for photometric selection of V-type asteroids: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2014arXiv1408.4288O


==============================
SALT HRS Telegram on V1369 Cen
==============================

Simultaneous observations with SALT HRS and HST STIS spectroscopy were carried out as part of a campaign to observe the classical nova V1369 Cen. Preliminary results were presented in the following Astronomer's Telegram: http://www.astronomerstelegram.org/?read=6413

An example of the reduced blue HRS spectrum produced via the new experimental HRS pipeline (see below for more details) are available here: http://saltastro.blogspot.com/2014/08/blue-spectroscopy-of-v1369-cen.html

================
New SALT Website
================

We are pleased to announce that the SALT web site has been given an overhaul and that it is now officially available for everyone to see. Some highlights include a new design, addition of interactive elements including recent observations, and an updated site for astronomers. Please check out the new websites here:

The new website was set up through the hard work of Briehan Lombaard, Paul Kotze, and Christian Hettlage at SAAO/SALT along with contributions from many others. The graphic design work was done by Joni-Leigh Doran. Besides web design, she also does fine art and illustrations. You can check out her work on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DesignerJoni

===============
RSS Maintenance
===============

RSS will be taken down Tuesday, Sept 9 for a major optical cleaning procedure with the goal to significantly improve the performances of the instrument. With the instrument off the telescope, throughput measurements of the major optical assemblies will be performed as well. The total downtime is currently expected to be between 4 and 6 weeks.

=======================
HRS Quick Look Software
=======================

A command line script for extracting a single order to allow estimates of the quality of data has been running at the telescope and we have made it available to the general community to help with assessing the quality of their observations. It can be downloaded from here: http://pysalt.salt.ac.za/versions/quickhrs_beta.tar.gz

Please see the README for more details on usage. The only requirements are some additional python libraries that can be installed via pip or other standard installation packages.

A prototype of a science reduction pipeline will be available soon. The code will be uploaded to the following repository soon if you would like a preview or to help contribute: https://github.com/saltastro/pyhrs


================
BVIT back on Sky
================

Following upgrades of the BVIT computer by the Berkeley group led by Barry Welsh and ably supported by SALT Tech Ops and Marissa Kotze, the instrument is back on sky. Some on-sky tests confirmed to was all working nominally. Several observing programs utilizing it are planned over the coming months and possibly into semester 2014-2.

=======
RSS NIR
=======

There has been good progress on the RSS near IR arm development, particularly with the detector optimization work. The science grade Hawaii 2RG array is expected to be installed in the cryostat in the coming months following tests and control parameter tweaking on the bare MUX device, currently installed. The pre-dewar cooling design work is near completion and RFPs are about to be released. The instrument is on track for delivery later in 2015, in time for installation following the tracker upgrade completion at the end of 2015.

====
SAMS
====

After a significant delay in the first phase of the edge sensor project, necessitated by the need for more thorough testing than originally anticipated, plus some design minor modifications, the first set of sensors are about to be installed on the central 7 segments (the so-called sub array). This will be followed by a commissioning period on the telescope, expected to be completed in a couple of months, depending on how co-operative the weather is during that time. Apart from several nights of engineering time required during this period, the SAMS commissioning is expected to have little impact on normal nighttime science activities. The vast majority of the remaining 480 sensors (plus spares) will be delivered over the next year or so.

============================
SALT Science Conference 2015
============================

A heads-up for the next SALT Science meeting: this will be held in the week of 1-5 June 2015 at the STIAS conference venue in Stellenbosch, some 40 km from Cape Town. This will follow the SALT Board meeting held the previous week in Cape Town. More details on this will be released over the coming months.


2014.07.02

Wnioski obserwacyjne na 2 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 Nov. 2014 - 30 April 2015 (2014 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.

In addition to normal and long term proposals, investigators can also submit Partnership Proposals for Key Science. Partnership Proposals for Key Science are proposals for high impact science that will benefit from a concentrated effort from the larger consortium. These proposals can be for up to 10% (~80 hours) of the time available per semester and up to four semesters. For more details about Partnership Proposals for Key Science, please see the Call for Proposals.

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/

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,
Astronomy Operations


2014.07.02

Status teleskopu SALT w lipcu 2014

Oto oryginalna wiadomość:

============================================================
Cephieds on the far side of the Milky Way: SALT Nature Paper
============================================================

Prof Michael Feast (University of Cape Town, SAAO), Dr John Menzies (SAAO), Dr Noriyuki Matsunaga (the University of Tokyo, Japan) and Prof Patricia Whitelock (SAAO, UCT) reported on 'Cepheid variables in the flared outer disk of our galaxy' in the May issue of Nature. They used SALT to observe the Cephieds and help map out the shape of the far side of the Milky Way. More details are available here:
http://saltastro.blogspot.ca/2014/05/salt-observations-of-first-stars.html
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v509/n7500/full/nature13246.html

=====================================
Partnership Proposals for Key Science
=====================================

Partnership Proposals for Key Science will be offered starting in the 2014-1 semester. In the first semester, up to 10% of the time (80 hours per semester) will be available for key programmes. Full details will be given in the call for proposals, but these proposal should be for programs that will benefit from a concentrated effort from the large consortium for important science. Please see the Call for Proposals for more details!

==================
Maintenance on RSS
==================

While measuring the throughput of the RSS in April, visual inspection of the collimator optics indicated a degradation in the lens fluid and seals around some of the optical groups, and a fluid leakage, which was subsequently fixed. RSS will be removed from the telescope for further inspection and a thorough analysis of the state of the optical train. While down, quantitative measurements of the throughput of all the RSS optics will be performed and replacement of lens fluid maybe also be attempted. The instrument will be taken down from the telescope in late-july for an estimated period of 4 weeks. During this time, the instrument will remain in Sutherland and science programs will continue with HRS and SALTICAM.

=========================
SALT Board Meeting at UNC
=========================

The SALT board meeting was held at the University of North Carolina at the beginning of June. Lisa Crause presented some of the commissioning results from HRS, updates were given about different upgrades currently underway at SALT, highlights of various education and public outreach programs were given, and a number of new science results were presented by the partners. For these and more presentations, please see:
http://saltastro.blogspot.ca/2014/06/salt-board-and-science-day-at-unc.html

====================
BVITS Current Status
====================

The Berkeley Visible Image Tube, a SALT visitor instrument, has been out of action since April, apparently with a computer malfunction. This will be attended to by UC Berkeley over the coming few months, so it is expected to be available for 2014-2 programs. One successful observation conducted in Jan detected the 53 millisec optical pulsations of the LMC pulsar, PSR B0540-69 (see
http://saltastro.blogspot.com/2014/03/optical-pulses-detected-by-bvit-of.html )

====
SAMS
====

Good progress has been made with the new mirror edge sensors program, SAMS, with successful completion of the first phase of the acceptance tests for Phase 1 completed in March in France. All the hardware for the Phase 1 system, namely 24 sensor pairs for controlling a 7-segment subarray of mirrors, have been received and are undergoing final tests in Cape Town before installation on SALT begins, expected to start in late-June/early-July.


2014.04.05

Status teleskopu SALT w kwietniu 2014

Oto oryginalna wiadomość:

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

In Loubser 2014 (http://arxiv.org/abs/1401.1822) SALT long-slit spectroscopy is used to fit complex star formation histories to a small sample of central cluster galaxies. Most of the galaxies contain a small component of young stars, and the high signal-to-noise data makes it possible to quantify the contribution of these young stars. Contrary to popular belief, a 'blue' brightest cluster galaxy is not necessarily associated with a cooling-flow cluster.

Brent Miszalski (RSA) and collaborators used SALT to obtain RSS spectroscopy of a newly discovered close binary central star of a planetary nebula Hen 2-11. The SALT spectrum confirmed the eclipsing binary is the hot central star of the planetary nebula and provided some standard measurements of other nebular quantities. The central star is a hot pre-white dwarf with a main sequence companion in a 0.609 day orbit. Binaries like these are thought to strongly influence the shape of their planetary nebulae. For more details, please see the paper by D. Jones et al. 2014, A&A, 562, A89; http://arxiv.org/abs/1401.1358

Brent Miszalski (RSA) and Joanna Mikolajewska (POL) have used SALT RSS to discover 12 new symbiotic stars in the Southern Galactic Plane. Symbiotic stars are interacting binaries that are strong candidates for type Ia supernovae (SN Ia) progenitors, however the Galactic population is not well characterised. Their ongoing SALT program observed several Halpha emission line candidates selected from the AAO/UKST SuperCOSMOS Halpha Survey and 2MASS. It aims to build an improved census of Galactic symbiotic stars, of which less than 300 are currently known. A particularly exciting result is that one of the new discoveries exhibits [Fe X] 6375 A emission, making it a supersoft X-ray source candidate. Supersoft sources are intimately linked to SN Ia progenitors since they are steadily burning hydrogen on the white dwarf. An appendix also lists several other new Halpha emission line objects such as B[e]/Be stars, a Wolf-Rayet star and planetary nebulae. Several more discoveries are anticipated as the survey progresses. For more details, please see the paper by B. Miszalski & J. Mikolajewska 2014, MNRAS, in press; http://arxiv.org/abs/1311.0797

===================
BVIT Pulsar results
===================

In January the first successful SALT BVIT observations of rapid optical pulsations from a pulsar were reported by Sarah Buchner (HartRAO) and her collaborators. BVIT was used in order to measure the 50.7 millisecond spin period of PSR B0540-69. For more details see: http://saltastro.blogspot.com/2014/03/optical-pulses-detected-by-bvit-of.html

====================
HRS Calibration Data
====================

Lisa Crause has provided the existing HRS calibration data at: http://hrscal.salt.ac.za/. The full set of biases, calsys arcs, calsys flats, and sky flats (as well as a few darks) from November through to March are now available at that webiste. The page does require the user to login using their Web Manager User Name and password.

=================================
New SALT Astronomer: Eric Depagne
=================================

Eric Depagne has started as the new SALT Astronomer. He arrived in Cape Town in late February, coming from Germany. Before Germany, he spent 3.5 years in California as a postdoc, and the 4 years before that working as a support astronomer at ESO in Chile. He is a high resolution spectroscopist whose science revolves around metal poor stars, nucleosynthesis, and galactic chemical evolution. He also a keen interest in instrumentation. He was the project engineer at the Leibniz-Institut for Astrophysics in Potsdam, for a multi-object spectrograph that will be installed on VISTA in 2019. He has built the first prototype of a Medium Resolution Spectrograph for LCOGT. The final version of which will be installed in Sutherland.

==========================
Updates to the PIPT and WM
==========================

The latest version of the PIPT (3.2) is required for accessing and submitting phase 2 proposals for the 2014-1 semester.

If you are following the SALT blog on http://saltastro.blogspot.com, you may have noticed that recently brief science summaries were added to the list of observed proposals. As of the 2014-1 semester, PIs are required to supply these summaries, and the latest PIPT offers a text field for this.

It might be worth noting that even if your proposal has been awarded time for more than one semester, the PIPT will only display the times for the current semester. You may find the time allocation for other semesters in the Web Manager, though.

Version 3.3 of the PIPT, to be released very soon, will asume shorter overheads for arcs and flats. While this might make updating attractive, you can still create and submit your proposals with version 3.2.

The Web Manager time allocation page for TAC members has been overhauled and made for user-friendly. Suggestions for further improvement are very welcome, of course.

================
New SALT website
================

The design for the new SALT homepage has been finalised, and Briehan Lombaard, the SAAO's new web developer, is working on the site. Apart from a complete overhaul of the look-and-feel, you may expect new features like a live feed of what observations are being taken at the telescope.

============
PySALT v0.47
============

The next version of PySALT has now been released. In addition to a number of bug fixes, this version includes updates to the specred package for improved wavelength identification and spectroscopic reductions, improvements to the masktool, and the first version of basic ccd reduction tools for HRS. The HRS tools are still in development though. The package is available here:http://pysalt.salt.ac.za/

We also suggest that you download the newest version of PySpectrograph for best results with the specred package. The software can installed via pip or downloaded from here: https://pypi.python.org/packages/source/P/PySpectrograph/PySpectrograph-0.23.tar.gz#md5=7c193d8689fcca59905ba53fcc9576e9