AAS 196th Meeting, June 2000
Session 35. High Resolution Spectroscopy at Visible and Ultraviolet Wavelengths
Topical Session Oral, Wednesday, June 7, 2000, 8:30-10:00am, 10:45am-12:30pm, 2:30-4:00pm, 4:15-6:00pm, Highland A/K

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[35.20] High Resolution Spectroscopy at the 2.7-m H J Smith and 9.2-m Hobby-Eberly Telescopes, 1969-2000

R.G. Tull (McDonald Observatory, The University of Texas at Austin)

The twentieth century has seen the greatest advances in science and technology in the history of the world. These advances spawned a golden age in astronomy and in the astronomical instrumentation that fueled it. This paper will summarize 31 years of development of high-resolution spectroscopic instrumentation at McDonald Observatory, from the construction of the 2.7-m Harlan J. Smith Telescope and its coudé spectrograph through the completion of the 9.2-m Hobby-Eberly Telescope with its high-resolution fiber-fed spectrograph. We begin with photographic spectroscopy and advance through rapid-scanning photon counting spectrometry under computer control, addition of echelle gratings, Reticon and self-scanned Digicon solid-state imaging detectors, and innovative cross-dispersed echelle spectrometers with large-format CCDs.

Funding for all these projects by the National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is gratefully acknowledged, as are additional support from University of Texas matching grants and from the Texas state legislature. Thanks also to the many colleagues who have shared this adventure with me: Ed Nather, who taught me computer interfacing techniques; Johnnie Floyd, Don Wells, Steve Vogt, Phil Kelton, Richard Stover, Brenda Young, Phillip MacQueen, David Doss, John Good, Harland Epps, and Mark Cornell, who were involved in various phases of instrument development; and Hans Dekker, who shared ideas developed at ESO. The users developed the observing and data reduction techniques; among these are David Lambert, Chris Sneden, Ed Barker, Larry Trafton, Joc Tomkin, and many others. Tom Barnes and Frank Bash provided moral and logistical support, and Joyce Sampson spent many hours in fund-raising efforts. Finally, I wish to dedicate this work to the memory of Harlan J. Smith who gave unswerving encouragement and support over a period of many years.

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