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The Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) is currently being developed for in-orbit installation onto the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) in 1997. STIS will cover the wavelength range from 115 to 1000 nm in a variety of spectroscopic modes with resolutions ranging from 26 to 100,000. The use of two-dimensional detectors (1024 x 1024 pixels), in contrast to the linear array detectors employed by the first generation HST spectrographs, will permit STIS to extend the capabilities of HST to long-slit imaging spectroscopy and high resolution echelle spectroscopy with wide simultaneous wavelength coverage. STIS will also feature high spatial resolution camera modes, suitable for autonomous target acquisition as well as scientific imaging.
In this report, we present a brief overview of the observational capabilities that STIS will offer the scientific user. We describe the spectroscopic and imaging modes available, key detector performance characteristics, and the expected sensitivity of the instrument in its various modes. We also address some of the operational aspects of observing with STIS, including the autonomous target acquisition capability, in-flight calibration capabilities, and observing overheads.
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