ULTRASPEC on the 2.4m TNT

During 2011-2012, we converted ULTRASPEC into a brand new imaging instrument. We kept the original EMCCD in its cryostat, but added an opto-mechanical chassis housing custom-made re-imaging optics and an updated data acquisition system based on the latest version of the ULTRACAM system. The new ULTRASPEC saw first light at the 2.4m TNT on 2013 November 5, and is now permanently mounted on this telescope for at least the next 2 years. Just to re-emphasize, ULTRASPEC is now a high-speed imager - essentially a one-armed ULTRACAM - and hence does not currently have any spectroscopic capability, although it would be trivial to convert it back for spectroscopic use on EFOCS2 on the NTT if we wanted to.

ULTRASPEC on the TNT provides imaging photometry over a field of view of 7.7'x7.7' with a pixel scale of 0.45 "/pixel. A selection of 14 different broad-band and narrow-band filters can be accommodated in its 6-position filter wheel, covering the wavelength range 300-1000 nm. Zero readout noise is available via the avalanche output, or 2.5 e- readout noise via the normal output. The detector is liquid-nitrogen-cooled to 160 K, providing dark current of less than 10 e-/pixel/hr. The maximum frame rate using small, binned windows in drift mode is approximately 200 Hz.


Observing with ULTRASPEC

  1. ULTRASPEC user manual
  2. ULTRASPEC/ULTRACAM data reduction pipeline manual
  3. ULTRASPEC+TNT observing checklist
  4. ULTRASPEC/ULTRACAM filters
  5. ULTRASPEC frame rate calculator
  6. ULTRASPEC imaging ETC
  7. ULTRASPEC/ULTRACAM data archive
  8. Vik's and Tom's talk at NIATW on using ULTRASPEC


  ULTRASPEC+TNT news

Technical Information

  1. Datasheet on the e2v CCD201-20 used in ULTRASPEC
  2. On the use of electron-multiplying CCDs for astronomy
  3. Technical note on EMCCD simulations
  4. Simon Tulloch's EMCCD web pages
  5. Derek Ives' thesis on ULTRASPEC
  6. Simon Tulloch's PhD thesis on EMCCDs
  7. Richard Hickman's PhD thesis
  8. Photos of ULTRASPEC in the lab
  9. ULTRASPEC+TNT engineering commissioning photos
  10. ULTRASPEC+TNT on-sky commissioning report
  11. ULTRASPEC handling and cooling procedures
  12. ULTRASPEC detector page
  13. ULTRASPEC mechanical drawings and weights
  14. SDSU (ARC) controller documentation
  15. ULTRASPEC Wiring diagrams
  16. ULTRASPEC optics page
  17. ULTRASPEC/ULTRACAM logistics
  18. MNRAS paper on ULTRASPEC+TNT - click here for pdf copy
  19. ULTRASPEC zero points (courtesy of Liam Hardy and Martin McAllister)