Keck: First Light with NIRES Spectrometer

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Keck: First Light with NIRES Spectrometer

Post by bystander » Sun Jan 07, 2018 8:49 pm

W. M. Keck Observatory Achieves First Light with NIRES Spectrometer
W. M. Keck Observatory | Caltech | 2018 Jan 05

Near-Infrared Echellette Spectrometer Designed to Find the Faintest, Most Violent Objects in the Universe
[img3="The “first-light” image from NIRES is of NGC 7027, a planetary nebula. The NIRES spectrum shows the near-IR spectrum of this nebula dominated by emission lines of hydrogen and helium. The direct image shows NBC 7027 in the K’ filters at 2.2 microns. Credit: W.M. Keck Observatory"] ... 00_351.png[/img3][hr][/hr]
Astronomers at W. M. Keck Observatory have successfully met a major milestone after capturing the very first science data from Keck Observatory’s newest instrument, the Caltech-built Near-Infrared Echelette Spectrometer (NIRES).

The Keck Observatory-Caltech NIRES team just completed the instrument’s first set of commissioning observations and achieved “first light” with a spectral image of the planetary nebula NGC 7027. ...

Because NIRES will be on the telescope at all times, its specialty will be capturing Targets of Opportunity (ToO) – astronomical objects that unexpectedly go ‘boom.’ This capability is now more important than ever, especially with the recent discovery, announced October 16, of gravitational waves caused by the collision of two neutron stars. For the first time in history, astronomers around the world detected both light and gravitational waves of this event, triggering a new era in astronomy. ...

With its high-sensitivity, NIRES will also allow astronomers to observe extremely faint objects found with the Spitzer and WISE infrared space telescopes. Such ancient objects, like high-redshift galaxies and quasars, can give clues about what happened just after the Big Bang. ...
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Re: Keck: First Light with NIRES Spectrometer

Post by MargaritaMc » Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:53 pm

"In those rare moments of total quiet with a dark sky, I again feel the awe that struck me as a child. The feeling is utterly overwhelming as my mind races out across the stars. I feel peaceful and serene."
— Dr Debra M. Elmegreen, Fellow of the AAAS