From the Board of Visitors Executive Committee


February 2014: Lifting the new tracker bridge into the HET dome (Coyne Gibson)

HETDEX on the Rise at McDonald Observatory

Construction of the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX) is making significant progress on Mount Fowlkes at McDonald Observtory.

Dr. Gary Hill, McDonald Observatory's Chief Astronomer and a HETDEX team leader, reported on the progress at the February 22, 2014, Board of Visitors meeting. A link to Dr. Hill's presentation (in PDF format) can be found below, along with links to time-laps movies that he showed during his talk.

You can see Gary Hill's presentation at the following link:

Gary Hill's presentation from the February 2014 Board of Visitors Meeting

Highlights include

  • HET's primary mirror partially disassembled and protected
  • HET's old tracker removed in October
  • X and Y drives for new tracker shipped from Austin to McDonald Observatory, assembled on the HET, X-drive tested
  • New HETDEX tracker disassembled, shipped from Austin to McDonald Observatory, lifted into place and successfully tested
  • VIRUS enclosures shipped to McDonald Observatory; onsite assembly progressing
  • VIRUS spectrographs in full production: 25 pairs (50 spectrographs) completed; 75 pairs (150 spectrographs) complete by end of 2014

    February 2014: Starting installation of the structures to hold the VIRUS Spectrographs (courtesy HET Team)

  • Install the Y-drive “stinger”
  • Test the tracker in X-Y axes
  • Install the hexapod and Prime Focus Instrument Package (PFIP) structure
  • Test hexapod and commission the tracker
  • Install the Wide Field Corrector and PFIP
  • Align the PFIP to the primary mirror and to the sky
  • Commission the metrology systems
  • Install instruments and return to science

Below is a link to a time-lapse movie that came from Dr. Hill's presentation, showing the disassembly and removal of at the old HET tracker in October, 2013:

A video of the old HET tracker being disassembled and lifted out by crane

HET Telescope Operator Chevo Terrazas has created the movie, below, showing the installation of the new HETDEX tracker -- complete with musical accompaniment:


* * * * * * * * * * *

HETDEX is a collaboration led by The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory, with partners including Pennsylvania State University, Texas A&M University, Universitats-Sternwärte Munich, Leibniz Institute für Astrophysics (AIP), Max-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik, Institut für Astrophysik Göttingen, and the University of Oxford. Financial support is provided by the State of Texas, the United States Air Force, the National Science Foundation, and the generous contributions of many private individuals and foundations.

[Joel Barna]

March 2014
Astronomy Program · The University of Texas at Austin
prospective student inquiries: studentinfo@astro.as.utexas.edu
site comments: www@astro.as.utexas.edu · web accessibility policy · web privacy policy