The UKIRT wide-field camera

M. Casali, A. Adamson, C. Alves de Oliveira, O. Almaini, K. Burch, T. Chuter, J. Elliot, M. Folger, S. Foucaud, N. Hambly, M. Hastie, D. Henry, P. Hirst, M. Irwin, D. Ives, A. Lawrence, K. Laidlaw, D. Lee, J. Lewis, D. LunneyS. McLay, D. Montgomery, A. Pickup, M. Read, N. Rees, I. Robson, K. Sekiguchi, A. Vick, S. Warren, B. Woodward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Context: The infrared wide-field camera (WFCAM) is now in operation on the 3.8 m UK Infrared Telescope on Mauna Kea. WFCAM currently has the fastest survey speed of any infrared camera in the world, and combined with generous allocations of telescope time, will produce deep maps of the sky from Z to K band. The data from a set of public surveys, known as UKIDSS, will be initially available to astronomers in ESO member states, and later to the world. Aims: In order to maximise survey speed, the WFCAM field of view was required to be as large as possible while incorporating conventional infrared-instrument design features such as a cold re-imaged pupil stop and cryogenic optics and mechanisms. Methods: The solution adopted was to build a cryogenic Schmidt-type camera, mounted forward of the primary mirror, which illuminates a very large 0.9° diameter focal plane, containing four 2k × 2k HgCdTe Rockwell detectors. Results: Following several commissioning periods during which the camera, focal plane and telescope optical axes were successfully co-aligned, WFCAM now operates close to specifications, regularly achieving 0.7´´ FWHM images over the full field. Projects which already report excellent results include the detection of variability in young stellar clusters, as well as preliminary deep IR imaging of the Subaru and XMM-Newton deep field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)777-784
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Volume467
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2007

Keywords

  • instrumentation: miscellaneous
  • infrared: general

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