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Top Level Science Drivers
(from Larry Ramsey, HET Project Scientist)

  • HET's large collecting area allows acquisition of many spectra quickly, e.g., surveys.
  • The telescope is tailored to spectroscopy.
  • Spectroscopy allows study of temperature, velocity, rotation, and composition.
  • Telescopes are largely used for typically one-hour exposures not too far from zenith; HET's unique design is well matched to that fact.
  • HET's modest image quality goals are well matched to the median site seeing.
  • HET's design is consistent with a survey mission not requiring exceptional conditions.
  • The goal is to maximize science output for minimal cost in areas where HET can compete.

 

Conditions for which HET is Most Competitive
(from Larry Ramsey)

  • Target classes are uniformly distributed around the sky.
  • Sky surface densities of targets are a few per square degree or per square arcminute.
  • Time-critical phenomena with time scales of days and longer are of interest.
  • The astrophysics of interest can be studied with visible and near-IR spectroscopy.
  • For problems where queue scheduling can efficiently acquire surveys and temporal data.

 

Examples of Astronomy Planned for HET
(from Larry Ramsey, Gary Hill, and Bob Tull)

  • planetary searches based on radial velocity variations
  • echo mapping active galactic nuclei
  • measuring the interactions of black holes with their environments
  • spectroscopic monitoring of supernovae with optimal time coverage
  • precision abundance determinations for cosmological studies
  • using Doppler imaging to study activity and conditions in stars and accretion disks
  • studying stellar populations and evolution
  • studying dark matter properties from kinematical measurements in elliptical galaxies
  • measuring the age and dynamical evolution of the Milky Way from white dwarf stars
  • high-speed spectroscopy of X-ray binary stars
  • distance determinations for local galaxies using blue supergiant stars
  • dynamics of galaxies using planetary nubulae
  • confirmation of outer halo RR Lyrae candidates
  • studies of the fundamental plane in galaxy clusters at redshifts up to one
  • optical identification of flux-limited X-ray and EUV samples from space missions
  • investigations of the intergalactic medium
  • studies of stellar nucleosynthesis via high-resolution spectroscopy
  • monitoring G, K, and M stars for solar-like activity

 
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29 July 2002
UT Astronomy Program • The University of Texas at Austin • Austin, Texas 78712
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