TRES Commissioning

Created 10/05/07 by EF
Updated 10/10/07 by EF

On 2007 September 26, TRES was commissioned. Andy Szentgyorgyi, Gabor Furesz, Perry Berlind, Dave Latham and Emilio Falco were present, with Gabor and Perry at the controls. That night, we had photometric skies all night long. As the second day of the engineering run (the official comissioning), all systems were under control, and stellar spectra were acquired. We tested all the systems using all settings of the fibers. The CCD behaved well, although there may be electronic problems that we are addressing. The full system is ready for users, in a shared-risk mode for the present trimester. We are composing an operations manual that will be added soon to these pages.

The following is an example of the commissioning results.
The image shows a 2D spectrum. The roughly 50 useable Echelle orders covering the wavelength range 390-910 nm are aligned vertically.

We observed a V=12.3 magnitude star near transit, with a seeing of <1.2 arcsec. We used the 1.4 arcsec fiber (smallest among the three available with TRES). The camera was binned 2x2 to reduce readout noise, so the FWHM of the fiber image (the resolution element) is about 2 pixels, which covers 0.087A at 5200A, corresponding to a resolution of R~60.000 (plate scale: 0.0435A/binned pixel, 2.5 km/s per binned pixel at 5200A). The exposure times were 3x600 sec (3 exposures were median-combined, so the intensity levels in the plots below correspond to the 600 sec exposures, while the noise corresponds to an 1800 sec exposure).

The images below show 1D extractions of 50 orders of the spectrum of the 12.3 mag star. All of the absorption features in these spectra are real! Note especially the whopping Ca H+K lines, in orders 87 and 86.

The following is a message of 09/28/07 from Gabor and Andy:

Dear All,

Congratulation are due to the long list of contributors to this project,
all of whom were essential to the success we enjoy today. Our special
thanks to Mark Ordway, the TRES project engineer, whose performance
and level of dedication were always above and beyond the call of duty.
For major contributions throughout the project, we offer our profound
thanks to Steve Amato, Kevin Bennett, Henry Bergner, Mike Burke, Sue
Demski-Hamelin, Tim Ellis, Roger Eng, Harland Epps, Dan Fabricant, Bob
Fata, Leslie Feldman, John Geary,  Larry Knowles, Csaba Major, Tim
Norton, John Roll & Joe Zajac.

For their support at various phases of the project, we thank John
Boczenowski, Pat Brennan, Flo Collette, Emilio Falco, Tom Gauron, Ted
Groner, Bob Hutchins, Sylvain Korzennik, Brian McLeod, Wayne Peters, Perry
Berlind and Mike Calkins.

Finally we thank Charles Alcock, Irwin Shapiro and Dave Latham for their
encouragement and, perhaps more significantly, their financial support.

And after the first light, let me say special thank to the FLWO staff, who
made TRES work in the past couple of months, and who will be taking very
good care of it in the future, supporting all the observers!


Gabor Furesz
Andrew Szentgyorgyi