AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 38 Observation and Instrumentation : Optical
Poster, Tuesday, January 6, 2004, 9:20am-6:30pm, Grand Hall

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[38.12] The Palomar-QUEST large-area CCD camera

D. Rabinowitz, C. Baltay, W. Emmet, T. Hurteau, J. Snyder, P. Andrews, N. Ellman, N. Morgan, A. Bauer (Yale), J. Musser, M. Gebhard, G. Adams (Indiana), G. Djorgovski, A. Mahabal, M. Graham, M. Bogosavljevic, R. Williams, R. Brucato, R. Thicksten (CalTech)

The Palomar-QUEST large-area camera is a 112-CCD mosaic built by the physics departments at Yale and Indiana Universities and mounted on the California Institute of Technology's 1.2-m Oschin Schmidt at Palomar Observatory. Each individual CCD is a thinned, back-illuminated device with 2400 x 600 13-u pixels yielding a mosaic with 16800 x 9600 pixels covering 9.5 sq. deg (0.878 arcsec per pixel). The design is optimized for driftscanning. With the telescope drive stopped, the pixel rows of each CCD are read at a rate matching the drift rate of the stars. The CCDs are also aligned in the north-south direction along four fingers that rotate to align the CCD rows with the arcs followed by the drifting stars. With each finger covered by a separate filter, 540 sq. deg. of sky (120 deg in RA by 4.5 deg in Dec) can be imaged in 4 band passes in a single 8.5-hour night to a depth of ~21 mag in R. Stellar profiles with typical FWHM ~1.8 can be obtained for drift scans within 25.0 degs of the equator.

Since May of 2003 we have surveyed 12 nights per lunation (the second half), each night in Johnson U, B, I , and R or else in Gunn r, i, and twice in z. During the first half of each lunation, the camera has been used in stare mode by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech to search for near-Earth asteroids and Trans-Neptunian objects. For both observing modes, all operations have been automated with no on-site or remote observer required. A high-speed network is used to download each night's observations (~50 Gbytes) to Yale, Caltech, or JPL.


If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://hepwww.physics.yale.edu/quest/palomar.html. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

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