Report on NIRSPEC observing night of 8 April 2000

Summary Report on the first night of Gemini/ NIRSPEC 2000A time

The first night of Gemini/NIRSPEC observing on Keck II occurred on April 8. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate. The sky was covered with cirrus which was estimated to attenuate starlight by 2-4 magnitudes all night. At times attempts to observe were halted when the clouds became too thick.

The lack of a working slit rotator in NIRSPEC also compromised observations, and would have more so had the weather been good enough to devote much time to very faint object spectroscopy. For the most part, we attempted to observe programs for which the target objects were bright enough to be detected in reflection off of the slit, using the Slit IR Camera (SCAM). This allowed us to use slow autoguiding to maintain the object on the slit while taking exposures. The clouds played havoc with our attempts, but on a few occasions allowed us to collect what we believe are meaningful data (using much longer integration times than requested).

On programs with faint targets is necessary to guide and nod on a distant star in order to maintain the target in the slit as the field rotates. It was clear that these procedures had not been worked out quantitatively to the accuracy required for the narrow NIRSPEC slits. We do not think that it will be worthwhile to attempt any faint object observations on the May run unless the slit rotation problem is fixed or a sufficiently accurate offset guiding technique is available.

The following are programs that were attemped, along with a brief summary of the results.

011m_b (K band spectroscopy of Pluto/Charon, Buie) - perhaps sufficient s/n on one of the three echelle settings.

023x_f (Sloan mystery object - Fan) - no useful data obtained due to clouds

030cyp (13C in M3 IV-..., Pilachowski) - we believe that this program is complete.

036meb (A J-Band dropout, Dickinson) - no useful data obtained because of clouds and offset guide errors.

Within the next week we will be releasing data to the PI's of the proposals for which we believe useful data were obtained.

---- April 12, 2000

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Last update April 17, 2000; Tom Geballe