First Light for Two New WIYN Instruments

Nov 15, 2013

Congratulations to the Washburn Labs team around instrument PI Matt Bershady on the succesful construction, delivery, and installation of two brand new instruments for the WIYN telescope. The two new instruments, HexPak and GradPak, are the world's first integral field spectrographs that employ adaptive fiber sizes.

HexPak will be used to observe face-on disk galaxies, with a high-resolution core to optimally sample the center of the field and larger fibers in the outskirts to collect as much light as possible in the fainter regions of galaxies. GradPak will do the same thing for edge-on galaxies, with small high-resolution fibers to sample the equatorial plane of the galaxy and large fibers to sample the faint regions far away from the disk.

Coupled with the powerful bench spectrograph of the WIYN telescope, these new instruments will allow efficient study of galaxy dynamics, making best use of the exquisite imaging power of WIYN. The image below shows the first light GradPak spectrum of the galaxy NGC 2146 (the insert shows a visible image by the Hubble Space Telescope, credit: ESA/NASA).

A technical description of the instruments has been published in SPIE and is available in the astro-ph archive.

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