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PROCEEDINGS OF SPIE SPIEDigitalLibrary.org/conference-proceedings-of-spie Current status of the facility instruments at the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory Barry Rothberg, Olga Kuhn, Jennifer Power, John M. Hill, Christian Veillet, et al. Barry Rothberg, Olga Kuhn, Jennifer Power, John M. Hill, Christian Veillet, Michelle Edwards, David Thompson, R. Mark Wagner, "Current status of the facility instruments at the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory," Proc. SPIE 10702, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VII, 1070205 (6 July 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2314005 Event: SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation, 2018, Austin, Texas, United States Downloaded From: https://www.spiedigitallibrary.org/conference-proceedings-of-spie on 12/14/2018 Terms of Use: https://www.spiedigitallibrary.org/terms-of-use
Transcript
Page 1: PROCEEDINGS OF SPIE - Large Binocular Telescopedoc.lbto.org/web/SPIE_LBTO_Instrumentation_2018.pdf · facility instruments at the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory," Proc. SPIE

PROCEEDINGS OF SPIE

SPIEDigitalLibrary.org/conference-proceedings-of-spie

Current status of the facilityinstruments at the Large BinocularTelescope Observatory

Barry Rothberg, Olga Kuhn, Jennifer Power, John M.Hill, Christian Veillet, et al.

Barry Rothberg, Olga Kuhn, Jennifer Power, John M. Hill, Christian Veillet,Michelle Edwards, David Thompson, R. Mark Wagner, "Current status of thefacility instruments at the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory," Proc. SPIE10702, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VII,1070205 (6 July 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2314005

Event: SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation, 2018, Austin, Texas,United States

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Current Status of the Facility Instruments at the LargeBinocular Telescope Observatory

Barry Rothberga,b, Olga Kuhna, Jennifer Powera, John M. Hilla, Christian Veilleta, MichelleEdwardsa, David Thompsona, and R. Mark Wagnera

aLarge Binocular Telescope Observatory, 933 North Cherry Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85721, USAbDepartment of Physics and Astronomy, George Mason University, MS 3F3, 4400 University

Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA

OT

ABSTRACT

We present an overview of the current status of facility instruments at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT).These include Optical and Near-Infrared instruments: the prime-focus optical Large Binocular Cameras (LBCs);the optical Multi-Object Double Spectrograph (MODS); and the LBT Near-IR Spectroscopic Utility with CameraInstruments (LUCIs). Each side of the telescope contains one of the aforementioned instruments. We detail therecent move to “all binocular all the time” science operations, including the use of multi-mode Adaptive Opticswith the LUCIs (diffraction limited over a 30′′ × 30′′ field of view or enhanced seeing over a 4′× 4′ field of view).Binocular science has three configurations: Duplex mode, with identical configurations on both sides, providingan effective collecting area of 11.9 meters; Fraternal Fraternal Twin or Mixed mode (same instruments withdifferent setups or different instruments on each side, respectively), which is effectively two 8.4 meter telescopes;or interferometry with a 22.6 meter baseline.

Keywords: ELT, Observatories, Instrumentation, Binocular, Spectroscopy, Imaging

1. INTRODUCTION

The Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) is part of the Mount Graham International Observatory (MGIO), whichincludes the 1.8 meter Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope, and the 10-meter Sub-millimeter Telescope.MGIO is located on Emerald Peak on Mount Graham, at an elevation of 3,192 meters. Mount Graham is part ofthe Pinaleno Mountains located in southeastern Arizona, near the city of Safford. Access to MGIO is restrictedannually from approximately November 15th through April 15th due to the combination of unpaved roads andwinter weather conditions. Access requires the use of four-wheel drive vehicles during this period. Over thelast year the observatory has moved to a model where visiting astronomers (assisted by LBT staff astronomers)operate the scientific instruments on the telescope from a remote observing room at LBT headquarters in Tuc-son, Arizona. The observatory operates from September 1-July 10 each year. Between July 11-August 31 theobservatory closes for monsoon season in southern Arizona. This down-time is used for telescope and instrumentmaintenance, upgrades, and for one primary mirror to be aluminized and the other washed.

The LBT is an international partnership which includes public universities in Arizona (25% share of time)comprising the University of Arizona, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University; Germanyor LBT Beteiligungsgesellschaft (25% share of time), which includes the German institutes of LandessternwarteKonigstuhl, Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP), Max-Planck-Institut fur Astronomie, Max-Planck-Institut fur Extraterrestrische Physik, and Max-Planck-Institut fur Radioastronomie. German federal fundingrequires that some of this time is available to other public universities within Germany; Italy or InstitutoNazionale di Astrofisica (25% share of time) which is responsible for offering access to the Italian communityto LBTO; the Ohio State University (12.5% share of time); and the Research Corporation for Science and Ad-vancement (12.5% share of time) which coordinates the participation of four universities (Ohio State University,

Further author information: (Send correspondence to Barry Rothberg)E-mail: [email protected], Telephone: +1 520 626-8672, Fax: +1 520 626-9333

Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VII, edited by Christopher J. Evans, Luc Simard, Hideki Takami, Proc. of SPIE Vol. 10702, 1070205 · © 2018 SPIE · CCC code: 0277-786X/18/$18 · doi: 10.1117/12.2314005

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University of Notre Dame, University of Minnesota, and University of Virginia).Time on LBT is also available through the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) via the Tele-

scope System Instrumentation Program (TSIP). A total of 39 nights are allocated for semesters 2017B through2019B. Currently, applications for TSIP time may only request use of the three facility instruments in integralincrements of 0.5 nights. This does not include access to the Adaptive Optics (AO) modes with the near-infraredimager & spectrograph. TSIP observations are scheduled classically each semester and the observing programsare executed by LBT staff.

In this conference proceeding, we present a summary of the capabilities of the LBT scientific facility in-struments that are available for partner science observations. It is an update to the review of Rothberg et al.(2016).1 In the last two years, LBT has moved to routine nighttime binocular operations for all three facilityinstruments, as well as the availability of adaptive optics (AO) and enhanced seeing mode (ESM) to improve theimage quality of the facility near-infrared instrumentation.

2. THE LARGE BINOCULAR TELESCOPE

2.1 Overview

The Large Binocular Telescope houses two 8.4 meter primary mirrors, separated by 14.4 meters (center-to-center). Due to the fast f/1.14 focal ratio, these mirrors are affixed to a single compact altitude-azimuth mounthoused in a co-rotating enclosure, see Hill et al. (2004),2 Ashby et al. (2006),3 Hill et al. (2006),4 and Hill etal. (2010)5 for more details. The unique design of LBT allows for its use in three configurations: 1) “Twinned”or Duplex mode in which each mirror has identical instrument configurations yielding an effective collectingarea of 11.8 meters; 2) Interferometric mode, which uses the baseline from edge to edge of the two primarymirrors to create an effective aperture of 22.6 meters; and 3) “Heterogeneous” mode, in which the 8.4 meterprimary mirrors are each configured with different instrument configurations (i.e. optical imaging on one side,near-infrared spectroscopy on the other side) and operate as two independent telescopes with a common mount.In this mode, the two mirrors can move independently of each other up to the “co-pointing limit” (∼ 40′′).

The binocular telescope design is combined with four Bent Gregorian focal stations (three with instrumentrotator bearings) and one Direct Gregorian focal station for each side of the telescope. In addition, each mirrorcontains swing arms which holds an instrument at prime focus. All instruments (whether facility or otherwise)are always mounted on the telescope. Switching among the focal stations housing the different instrumentsis done by moving various swing arms which hold the prime focus optical cameras, or secondary and tertiarymirrors. The transition between prime focus and Gregorian instruments takes ∼ 20 minutes, while transitionsbetween different Gregorian instruments can take ≤ 10 minutes. For brevity, the left-side of the telescope isdenoted as SX and the right-side is denoted as DX. Figure 1 shows a layout of the LBT, including locations ofall currently installed instruments.

2.2 Co-Pointing & Telescope Movement

With the recent move to “all binocular all the time” for night-time science operations, operating the LBT asa truly binocular telescope requires a different approach to understanding how the telescope can move and thelimitations and advantages of having two mirrors capable of independent motion. This is especially importantwhen each side may be required to move independently to acquire or center on targets of interest. The two sidesare not required to have precisely the same target or position angle for binocular mode to work. The telescopemount points near the the mid-point between the two sides and the telescope software “knows” to avoid presetsor small offsets that would violate the co-pointing limit (Hill et al. 20146). The only restriction is the co-pointinglimit” which is the maximum physical travel distance allowed between the two mirrors. Currently, the co-pointinglimit is ∼ 40′′ in diameter. The actual limit on sky varies because it is also affected by the movement and theposition of the secondary and tertiary mirrors. Thus, each side can dither as required by the science so long asthe two sides together don’t violate the co-pointing limit (see Figure 2).

The telescope control system (TCS) accepts and processes requests from the science instruments to move toa target on sky (called a “preset”). When the telescope is configured for binocular operations, the TCS expectsa preset from the SX and DX sides of the telescope. If only one preset is sent, the telescope will not move. Oncetwo presets are received by the TCS, the telescope mount will move. In some cases, LBT may be configured

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LARGEiJOCULAR

TELESCOPEAdaptive

Secondary

LBC Blue

Thermal IR Nullcr/Beam Combiner

LINC /NIRVANANear IR/VisibleBeam Combiner

LBC Red

LUCIFER ILUCIFER 2

PEPSI 2

right target

Pure Co- Pointingboth mirrors pointed atexactly the same target

angular co- pointing limit

left target

Co- Pointingseparated targets

angular co- pointing limit

right target

Mid -pointlocation of

mount on -sky

Figure 1: Diagram of the LBT (courtesy of K. Strassmeier). Shown are the locations of the installed instruments,secondary and tertiary mirrors, and an inset diagram with the location of the PEPSI spectrograph.

Figure 2: Left - Diagram of pure co-pointing (same target both sides); Right - co-pointing with different targets.

for monocular operations (i.e. one instrument in an instrument pair is not available), in which cases the TCSexpects a preset from only the authorized side of the telescope. A hybrid configuration also exists called “pseudo-monocular” mode, in which one side of the telescope is authorized to move the mount, but once on target, bothmirrors may send commands to move their respective mirrors. The Pointing Control Subsystem (PCS) decidesand resolves requests to move the telescope or mirrors as needed. These requests may come from the TCS, orthe Guiding Control Subsystems (GCS) for each instrument. There are two types of motions, “synchronous” or“asynchronous.” Synchronous motion assumes that both sides of the telescope move at the same time. In caseswhere the SX and DX side need to move a distance greater than the co-pointing limit (i.e. a blind offset from a

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star to a faint target for spectroscopy or dithering to a blank field for near-IR imaging), the command to movemust be synchronous. However, synchronous presets can also be sent for small movements that do not approachthe co-pointing limits. Asynchronous movement occurs in cases where the SX and DX sides move independently.For example, dithering on one side of the telescope or acquiring a science target in a spectroscopic slit or mask.Asynchronous presets can be made in cases where one side of the telescope encounters a problem or other failureafter arriving at a new sky location. A second asynchronous preset can be sent on the side with problem so asnot to interfere with observations already occurring on the other side of the telescope. Asynchronous movementsare executed one at a time by the TCS as long as they do not violate the co-pointing limits. For more detailsregarding the philosophy and execution of binocular movements with LBT see De La Pena et al. (2010).7

2.3 Types of Instrumentation

There are three categories of LBT scientific instrumentation. The first are facility instruments, which are availablefor use by anyone within the partnerships (including TSIP). Facility instruments are supported and maintainedby LBTO personnel. Although during commissioning phases, facility instruments are still supported by theinstrument teams along with LBTO staff. The second type is Principal Investigator instruments. These aremaintained and operated by the instrument builders, however, they may be used by LBT partners (althoughcurrently not TSIP) for science on a collaborative basis through time exchanges at the discretion of the PI. LBTstaff provide technical assistance primarily limited to interfacing with the telescope control systems and infras-tructure. Currently, the only PI instrument is the Potsdam Echelle and Polarimetric Spectroscopic Instrument(PEPSI), which uses both primary mirrors. Each mirror feeds light to a focal station which contain a permanentfiber unit (PFU) that feeds non-polarized on-axis and off-axis light via a fiber-train to the spectrograph mountedbelow the pier of the telescope (see Figure 1). PEPSI also includes non-permanent polarimeters that can bemounted to the direct Gregorian focus to measure Stokes IQUV parameters (two per polarimeter). PEPSI hasbeen used on sky since 2015B and the polarimeters saw first light on September 11, 2017. For more information,see Strassmeier et al. (2008).8 The third type of LBT instrumentation is Strategic instruments. These are de-fined as technically challenging, designed to push the limits of astronomical instrumentation, and have a majorimpact on astronomy. Strategic instruments may be available to the LBT community on a collaborative basisor through time exchanges with the PI. Currently, the only fully operational strategic instrument is the LBTInterferometer (LBTI), which uses both primary mirrors and comprises LMIRCam (3-5 μm) and the NOMIC(8-13μm) camera. They are currently operational for on sky scientific observations, see Hinz et al. (2008),9

Wilson et al. (2008),10 Skrutskie et al. 2010,11 Leisenring et al. (2012),12 and Hoffmann et al. (2014)13 for moreinformation. The LBT INterferometric Camera and the NearIR/Visible Adaptive iNterferometer for Astronomy(LINC- NIRVANA) is a multi-conjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) near-IR imaging system that provides bothground-layer and high-layer corrections (Gassler et al. (2004),14 and Herbst et al. (2014)15). It was installedon to the telescope on September 20, 2016. It is currently in the early-stages of commissioning and closed theloops with both ground and high layer corrections on sky during 2017A. Further discussion of PI and Strategicinstruments are beyond the scope of this paper.

3. FACILITY INSTRUMENTS

3.1 Large Binocular Cameras (LBCs)

3.1.1 Instrument Layout

The LBCs are comprised of two wide-field f/1.14 imagers, one optimized for blue wavelengths (0.33-0.67μm)using fused silica in the lenses which permits better transmittance of light at λ < 0.5 μm, the other optimized forred wavelengths (0.55-1.11 μm) using borosilicate glass (BK7) lenses which are optimized for light at λ > 0.5 μm.Each LBC operates at the prime focus location of their respective mirrors (LBC-Blue at SX and LBC-Red atDX). They are each mounted on a spider swing-arm that can be deployed above the primary mirror and movedinto and out of the telescope beam as required. The LBCs were accepted as facility instruments in October 2011.The two instruments were a contribution by INAF to the first generation of LBT instruments. Specific detailsregarding construction, commissioning, and upgrades can be found in Ragazzoni et al. (2006),16 Speziali et al.(2008),17 and Giallongo et al. (2008).18

The LBCs were the first instruments to make full use of binocular observing at LBT. When used in a binocular

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13

N

} g -SLOAN LBCB imageE . _ (plus the 2 technical chips)

resampled to a constant pixel scale

IC 342

tech chip #2 (focus)-13.9 and 2.2 arcmin

from the center of chip 2 -

EVf0

NN

tech chip #1 (guiding)+14.0 and +2.2 arcmin

from the center of chip 2

sd chip #3 . sci chip #2 - sct chip #1

-23 arcmin

-1 arcmin

Figure 3: Top Left - the chip layout of LBC Blue (the four science chips and the two technical chips used forcollimation and guiding); Bottom Right - a distortion map of LBC-Blue; Right - 3600 sec g-sloan image of thegalaxy IC 342 (observed by B. Rothberg on UT September 04, 2017 and processed by O. Kuhn to remove thedistortions and re-sampled to a constant scale of 0′′.224 pixel−1).

configuration the LBCs dither simultaneously using the mount, rather than each mirror moving independently.The advantages are quicker movement on sky and no need to worry about violating the co-pointing limits. Thedisadvantage is that with slightly different readout times and filter motions between the two cameras, as well asvariations in the exposure times needed between blue and red filters, one side of the telescope can potentially sitidle while the other continues to collect photons before the mount offsets to a new position on sky.

The LBCs each contain six E2V CCD detectors, four of which are used for science. The four science CCDsare E2V 420-90s with 2048 × 4608 (13.5 μm square pixels) are arranged in a mosaic with three abutted next toeach other. A fourth CCD is rotated clockwise 90 degrees and centered along the top of the three science CCDs.Each CCD covers 7′.8 × 17′.6 with a gap of 70 pixels (18′′) between each CCD. This yields a 23′ × 25′ field ofview (FOV). In order to obtain an uninterrupted image, dithering is required to to fill the gaps between CCDs(and recommended to correct for cosmic rays and bad pixel columns). The un-binned readout time for the fullarray of science CCDs is 27 seconds. The other two CCDs are used for guiding and tracking collimation andwavefront control (Technical Chip 1, and Technical Chip 2, respectively). They are E2V 420-90 custom made512 × 2048 (13.5 μm square) pixel CCDs that do not have a shutter mechanism. They are placed on either ofthe science CCD chips. One is within the focal plane and is used for guiding adjustments, the other is out ofthe focal plane and uses extra-focal pupil images to maintain collimation and focus. Exposures are taken every8-32 seconds with the the Tech Chips (depending on the brightness of the stars that fall onto the array). Figure3 shows the layout of LBC-Blue (similar to LBC-Red) corrected field size), and an example of a g-sloan image.

The combination of fast focal ratios and prime focus requires a set of refractor corrector lenses to deal withgeometric distortions over a large field of i affect the large field of view (FOV). Each LBC uses a similar set offive corrective lens (a 6th lens is the cryostat window with almost no net power). This is based on the Wynneapproach of positive-negative-positive lenses (Wynne 197219), but with the second and third elements each split

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100

80

a° 60

E

40

20

LBCB filters' transmission

- Uspec- U- BesselI- B- BesselI- V- BesselI- g -SLOAN- r -SLOAN

03000 4000 5000 6000

Wavelength[angstroms] Wavelength[angstramsl10000 11000

100

80

7 60

r 40

20

LBCR fitters' transmission

- V-Bessell- R-Bessell- 1-Bessell

r-SLOAN

i-SLOAN

z-SLOAN

Y-FAN

F972N20

110784

CN817

7000 8000 5000 6000 7000 8000 9000

LBC BlueFilter

50% Cut -On(pm)

50% Cut -Off(pm)

LLSpec, 0.330 0.390

U-Bessel 0.333 0.382

B- Bessel 0.375 0.469

Sloan g 0.397 0.550

V- Bessel 0.488 0.610

Sloan r 0.552 0.686

LBC RedFilter

50% Cut -On(Nm)

50% Cut -Off(Nm)

LBC RedFilter

50% Cut -On(Nm)

50% Cut -Off(Nm)

V- Bessel 0.493 0.577 Sloan z3 0.830 ...

Sloan r 0.555 0.686 Y 0.952 1.110

R- Bessel 0.572 0.690 TiO 7843 0.769 0.788

Sloan i 0.697 0.836 CN 8173 0.802 0.821

I- Bessel 0.713 0.881 FN972N203 0.952 0.974

into two lenses. A filter wheel sits between the 5th and 6th corrective lens (the first lens is defined as closest tothe primary mirror). The corrected fields have a diameter of 110 mm and 108.2 mm for LBC-Blue and LBC-Red,respectively, which is an angular field of � 27′ in diameter (the science detectors cover ∼ 75%).

Each of the LBCs houses two filter wheels, and each wheel houses 5 slots. This allows for up to 8 filters to beused on sky for each instrument (one slot in each wheel must always be empty to allow light to pass through).The two LBCs use different filters of different widths. LBC-Blue filters are 159.8 mm in diameter (155 mmopening), and LBC-Red filters are 189.6 mm in diameter (185 mm opening). Currently, LBC-Blue contains onlysix filters, these are listed in Figure 4 along with their transmission curve. There are currently ten filters availablefor LBC-Red, although only eight can be used on sky at any given time. The two extra filters are TiO 784 andCN 817 which were purchased and tested in semester 2014B by Landessternwarte Konigstuhl (LBTB-Germany)and have been available for use by all partners since 2015A. These filters can be swapped in as needed, but PIsmust carefully choose which filters they replace.

Figure 4: Left - A plot of the transmission curves for the LBC-Blue filters. Right - A plot of the transmissioncurves for the LBC-Red filters. Below each plot is a table of filters for each LBC. 1Broad width (top-hat) filterresponse designed to mimic the spectroscopic coverage in this wavelength range. The filter has a bandpass thatdepends on angle of incidence, with a 10-15 angstrom blueshift from normal to 26◦ angle of incidence. Filtertransmission scans obtained in the summer of 2016 by the NOAO spectrometer show some non-uniformity acrossthe filter. 2The z-sloan filter has no red cutoff and is limited only by the detector quantum efficiency (� 0 at1.1μm). 3Medium width filters

3.1.2 Collimation

The ability to collimate the LBCs is a critical step to achieving and maintaining good image quality for scienceobservations. The LBCs are particularly sensitive to temperature differences between the ambient temperaturein the enclosure and the mirror glass which leads to large aberrations, particularly at the start of the night. Untilrecently, collimation was achieved only using Focal Plane Image Analysis (FPIA) which measures and analyzeshighly de-focused images of stars (pupils). Hill et al. (2008)20 provides more details. Using a geometricalmethod described by Wilson (1999)21 aberration coefficients are derived by measuring the internal and externalborders of pupils, and in some cases, their illumination profiles. Empirically determined scaling relations basedon these are then used to apply the Zernike corrections (Z4, Z5, Z6, Z6, Z8, Z11, and Z22) needed to removethe aberrations. A small region of Chip 2 just below the rotator center on each LBC is read out in order tospeed up the process. The process is repeated until the corrections converge. However, this requires that those

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preparing the observations select a field with a sufficient number of bright stars. The method uses as many ofthe de-focused stars as possible to measure pupils. If there are too few stars and/or they are faint, then thealgorithm has trouble properly measuring the pupils and determining the appropriate corrections.

Figure 5: Shown here are the WRS panels associated with the WRS process, starting with the Chip 2 collimationreadout (displayed in a DS9 window), the selection of the best pupil, and the comparison between the real andmodel pupil.

A new system was tested in September 2016 to overcome a number of deficiencies in the current algorithm.The Wavefront Reconstruction Software (WRS), developed by INAF, selects the brightest pupils in a field tomeasure (Stangalini et al. 2014,22 Stangalini et al. 201523). The pupil must meet a minimum threshold forsignal-to-noise (S/N). This avoids noisy estimates of Zernikes. WRS analyzes the moments of the intensity dis-tribution of the pupils and from that reconstructs a model of the pupil. The process iterates until the residualdifferences between the real and modeled pupils are minimized (Tokovinin and Heathcote 200624). The Zernikecoefficients needed are then computed and applied. The biggest gains with WRS are when significant coma ispresent at the start of the night (Z7 and/or Z8) and/or significant temperature gradients which can lead tospherical abberations (Z11 or Z22). In these cases FPIA has difficulty finding the inner hole of the pupil, andin extreme cases under- or over-estimates the pupil diameter. Figure 5 shows an example of the WRS process,starting with the Chip 2 collimation readout, the selection of the best pupil, and the comparison between realand model pupils. From this, the Zernike coefficients needed to collimate the LBCs are computed.

Since WRS can take significantly longer than FPIA to converge, a new IDL routine DOHYBRID was developedby John Hill to improve efficiency by first running WRS to deal with coma and spherical aberrations, thencontinuing to collimate with FPIA. DOHYBRID should be run at the start of the night, or when the LBCs are firstused during the night. After this, FPIA is run as before (every 30 minute). This requires observers to movefrom their science target to a nearby field with a sufficient number of bright stars to land on the section of Chip2 used for collimation. Once FPIA converges, the observers return to the science field. In addition, Tech Chip2 can be used for active collimation while science exposures are taken but only if there are bright stars on thechip. Corrections are computed and applied in between each science exposure.

Two new ways to improve collimation and reduce associated overheads are underway. The first is to applyWRS to the de-focused stellar images collected from Tech Chip 2. This would permit robust collimation cor-rections to be applied without moving from the science field. However, Tech Chip 2 is vignetted, which would

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produce non-circular pupils that are difficult to model. The largest problem is that WRS (and the currentscheme) relies on there being bright stars on Tech Chip 2. Science programs must be planned carefully to makesure that the best position angles and dithers are used to put sufficiently bright stars onto the Tech Chip. In caseswhere observations are made with filters at λ < 0.4μm and/or at high or low galactic latitudes, there may beinsufficient stars available within the science field. The second method employs telescope metrology (ultra-highaccuracy measurements of the mirrors) using a multi-channel absolute distance measuring fiber-interferometersystem which can measure the motions and vibrations of objects with accuracies to a few tenths of a micron.The system was installed on the LBT primary mirrors and LBCs during summer 2017. It is able to measure thesemi-absolute (not the actual optical surfaces) distance between the primary mirror and prime focus corrector toa level of 1μm r.m.s.. This includes multi-line measurement errors, primary mirror positioning errors and domeseeing. The goal is to account for all motions between the LBCs and primary mirrors and be able to collimatewithout interrupting science observations and moving the telescope. The tests are part of a collaboration betweenthe Giant Magellan Telescope Organization and LBT (see Rakich et al. 2018 - 10700-59 this conference).

3.1.3 Example of the Power of the LBCs

In September 2017, the Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security - Regolith Explorerspacecraft (OSIRIS-REx) returned to Earth as part of a gravity assist (or slingshot) to put it on course forits sample-return mission to the near-Earth asteroid Bennu (1999 RQ36). The date of closest approach wasSeptember 22, 2017. However, before ground-based telescopes had even begun to prepare to capture images ofOSIRIS-REx on closest approach, the LBT focused both of its LBC cameras to directly image the spacecraftnearly three weeks before closest approach. Figure 6 is a time-series of three V-Bessel exposures showing themovement of OSIRIS-REx.

Figure 6: Left - Time series LBC images obtained with the V-Bessel filter on UT Sep 02, 2017. Each exposureis 300 seconds. OSIRIS-REx is shown highlighted by the red boxes. Images were obtained by B. Rothberg, O.Kuhn, J. Hill, A. Conrad, and S. Allanson. The astrometry and processing were done by C. Veillet.

3.2 Multi-Object Double Spectrograph (MODS)

3.2.1 Instrument Layout

The Multi-Object Double Spectrographs (MODS) are a pair of identical instruments, each capable of imaging,or spectroscopy using longslit and user-designed multi-object slit (MOS) masks. Each MODS is mounted atthe direct Gregorian f/15 port (MODS-1 on SX and MODS-2 on DX, see Figure 1). The MODS were designedand built by The Ohio State University as part of its contribution to the first generation of LBT instruments.Specific details can be found in Pogge et al. (2006),25 (2010)26 and first light results are presented in Pogge etal. (2012).27 MODS-1 was installed in 2009 and became available for partner science in 2011B. MODS-2 wasinstalled in 2014A and commissioned from 2014B-2015B. Both MODS have been used for on sky science sincesemester 2015B and have been used together regularly in binocular mode since 2016.

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The MODS employ reflective optics to achieve high-throughput from 0.32μm-1.05 μm. The MODS houseseparate blue- and red-optimized channels that use custom-built E2V CCD231-68 back-side illuminated CCDswith 3072 × 8192 pixels (15 μm square). The blue channel is standard silicon with E2V Astro-Broadband coatingand the red channel is 40 μm thick deep depletion silicon with extended-red coating (E2V Astro-ER1). Thisprovides increased performance long-wards of 0.8 μm, with significantly reduced fringing relative to other opticalspectrographs and imagers. The CCD can be read out in different sizes depending on the observing mode.

MODS has two observing modes: direct imaging; and spectroscopy using curved focal plane masks. Theoptical layout of MODS incorporates a dichroic beam splitter below the focal plane that splits light into separate,but optimized blue and red only channels. There is a cross-over at 0.565 μm that results in a drop in flux in asmall region (∼ 0.005 μm centered on this wavelength). For some science cases, users may choose to employ blue-or red-only observations. The dichroic is replaced with no optic in the beam for blue-only mode and replacedwith a flat mirror for red-only mode (imaging and spectroscopy). Direct imaging is achieved by replacing thegrating with a plane mirror and is used for target acquisition for spectroscopy. The standard acquisition is toread out a smaller 1K×1K region of the CCD to reduce overheads during the acquisition (readout ∼ 40 sec).Direct imaging can also be used for science programs. MODS includes a full complement of sloan filters: u, andg for the Blue channel; and r, i, and z for the Red channel. The usable FOV is 6′ × 6′ but with degraded imagequality at radii > 4.5′. In the case of direct imaging for science, the CCDs are read out in 3K×3K mode.

MODS has two spectroscopic modes: a medium resolution diffraction grating optimized for blue and redspectral regions with R ∼ 2300, and 1850 (assuming a 0′′.6 wide slit), respectively. The resolution scaleswith slitwidths; and a double-pass 8◦ glass prism with back reflective coating that produces a low-dispersionspectroscopic mode with R ∼ 420-140 in the blue, and R ∼ 500-200 in the red. The grating dispersion uses thefull 8K×3K CCD, while the prism mode uses a 4k×3K readout mode. Longslit and multi-object slit masks aremade available through a mask cassette system with 24 positions. Each mask is matched to the shape of theGregorian focal plane. The first 12 positions in the cassette contain permanent facility and testing masks. Thefacility science masks include: 0′′.3, 0′′.6, 0′′.8, 1′′.0, 1′′.2, and 2′′.4 × longslit segmented masks (each containsfive 1′ long slits each separated by 3′′ segmented braces); and a 5′′ wide × 60′′ longslit single segment mask usedprimarily for spectro-photometric calibrations. The remaining 12 mask slots are available for custom designedMOS masks (discussed later).

The acquisition, auto-guiding and wavefront-sensing systems (AGW) are a part of MODS and located abovethe instrument focal plane, but within the unit itself. The patrol field of the AGW is 5′ × 5′ and overlaps with thebottom half of the MODS science field. The guideprobe can potentially shadow the science field or science maskif a guidestar is not chosen carefully. MODS uses an infrared laser (λ = 1.55 μm) closed-loop image compensationsystem (IMCS) to provide flexure compensation due to gravity, mechanical, and temperature effects. The IMCScan null motion to within an average of ±0.6 pixels for every 15◦ for elevations of 90◦ -30◦. More informationabout the IMCS can be found in Marshall et al. (2006).28 MODS also houses the calibration system internally.It consists of continuum (fixed intensity Quartz-Halogen and variable intensity incandescent) used for calibrationimaging and spectroscopic flats; and emission-line lamps (arc lamps) used for wavelength calibration of gratingand prism spectroscopy.

3.2.2 MODS-1 & MODS-2 Binocular Operations

Binocular observations with MODS-1 & MODS-2 have become routine for nighttime operations since mid-fall of2016. Currently, MODS-Binocular observations can be run in either duplex mode, where the observing script is“twinned” and the same instrument configuration is used with both MODS (i.e. same imaging filters, or samelongslit mask and grating, or same MOS mask), or “fraternal twin” mode, where each MODS uses a differentMOS mask, or a combination of imaging on one side and spectroscopy on the other. The only constraint is thateach MODS must use the same position angle (PA) and same pointing center. This is to avoid violating theco-pointing limit during observations. Future improvements should allow for different PAs and pointing centersto be used.

The filters, gratings, facility longslits, and overall efficiency of MODS-1 & MODS-2 were designed to bevirtually identical. Observations with the same instrument configuration used for both MODS is effectively asingle MODS observation obtained with an 11.9 meter diameter mirror. To date, the only known variationbetween the two MODS are the intensity of the internal lamps used for calibrations (flats and arcs). Figure 7

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shows an example of observations made with the same instrument configuration for MODS-1 & MODS-2. Thedata from each MODS have been fully “reduced” (bias-subtracted, flat-fielded, rectified, wavelength calibrated,and collapsed into a one-dimensional spectrum), flux calibrated (using a spectro-photometric star of knownbrightness to remove the instrumental signature and determine the flux measured for the science target), andcorrected for both extinction from the Earth’s atmosphere and along the line of sight through the Milky WayGalaxy, and finally, corrected for the Earth’s motion around the Sun and the redshift of the galaxy. The finaldata from each MODS are plotted in the top panel of Figure 7 (Red is MODS-1, Blue is MODS-2) and includeerrors (lighter colors). The object observed is an Ultraluminous Infrared Galaxy (ULIRG) that is suspectedof being a late-stage merger between two gas-rich spiral galaxies. ULIRGs emit 1012 L� integrated over 8-100μm and contain anywhere from 109-1010 M� of molecular gas, which provides fuel for forming new stars andgrowing super-massive central black holes (SMBH) that power Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN). The most powerfulAGNs are quasars (QSOs) and reside in massive elliptical galaxies. In the local Universe, ULIRGs are knownas the progenitors of QSO host galaxies (e.g. Sanders et al. 1988,29 Rothberg et al. 201330). This ULIRGshows evidence of strong emission lines indicative of a powerful QSO residing in the core of the galaxy (i.e.high-excitation lines). The final spectra from each MODS match each other within the errors. As an additionalquantitative check, the flux, velocity broadening, and equivalent width of [OII] (λ = 0.5006 μm) was measuredin each spectrum and are shown in the two panels at the bottom of Figure 7.

3.3 LBT NIR Spectroscopic Utility with Camera Instruments (LUCI)

3.3.1 Instrument Configuration

The two LBT Utility Camera in the Infrared instruments (LUCI, formerly LUCIFER), are a pair of cryogenicnear-Infrared (NIR) instruments, with imaging and spectroscopic (longslit and MOS) capabilities. LUCI-1 ismounted at one of the f/15 Bent Gregorian focus on the SX side and LUCI-2 is similarly mounted on the DX side(see Figure 1). The LUCIs can operate at wavelengths from 0.89 μm (LUCI-1) or 0.95 μm (LUCI-2) through2.4 μm in one of three modes: seeing limited (SL), Enhanced Seeing Mode (ESM), or diffraction limited AO.Unlike MODS, the guiding and wave-front sensing in seeing limited modes (and initial collimation in ESM andAO modes) are done using external AGW units. The LUCI calibration units also differ from MODS in that theyare external to the instruments, residing on mounts located above the LUCIs that swing in front of the entrancewindows when needed. Additional information regarding design, construction, and on-sky commissioning can befound in Seifert et al. (2003),31 Ageorges et al. (2010),32 and Buschkamp et al. (2012).33

The LUCIs are cooled using closed cycle coolers which are monitored to maintain the correct temperaturesneeded for optimal operation. LUCI-1 was installed at LBT in September 2008 and LUCI-2 as installed at LBTin July 2013. A series of repairs in 2011 and upgrades in 2015 were undertaken to match the capabilities of thetwo LUCIs with each other. Both are now equipped with 2K × 2K Hawaii 2RG detectors and have the sameset of cameras: an f/1.8 (N1.8) camera which delivers a 0′′.25 pixel−1 plate scale; an f/3.75 (N3.85) camera witha 0′′.12 pixel−1 plate scale; and an f/30 (N30) camera with a 0′′.015 pixel−1 plate scale. The N1.8 camera isprimarily used for seeing-limited spectroscopy; the N3.75 camera is used for seeing-limited imaging and delivers∼ 4′ × 4′ FOV. The N3.75 camera can also be used for spectroscopy with 2× better resolution and half thewavelength coverage achieved with the N1.8 camera. The N30 camera is used for AO imaging with both LUCIs,delivering a 30′′ × 30′′ FOV. The N30 camera in LUCI-2 can also be used for diffraction limited spectroscopydue to the presence of a diffraction limited grating (which is not installed in LUCI-1). Both LUCIs also housethe same complement of broad and narrow-band filters (see Table 1).

However, there are differences between the available spectroscopic gratings for the two LUCIs. Tables 1 &2 provide an overview of the capabilities available for both LUCIs. Unlike MODS, where the grating tilt isnot changeable by the user, the LUCIs offer a wide range of configuration possibilities that can be achievedwith various tilts (i.e. central wavelengths or λc), gratings, slits, and cameras. Using the N1.8 camera, lowresolution grating (G200) permits nearly complete coverage of the near-IR window with only two settings. Thehigh resolution grating (G210) with the N1.8 camera allows for nearly full wavelength coverage of each filter (i.e.z, J, H, and K-band). Users also have the flexibility to combine cameras, gratings, slits, and λcin different waysto achieve a wide range of scientific goals (i.e. higher spectral resolutions over shorter wavelength ranges).

Unlike MODS, flexure compensation is currently achieved in a passive mode. A lookup-table of motor values,based on empirical data taken at different elevations and rotations, are used to apply corrections before an

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g z

5010170.4

4.10-"

00.25

FF1725+3709 z = 0.689

- EIMODS -1 Dual Channel (1 hour)MODS -2 Dual Channel (1 hour)

Observed Wavelengt-g-'(pm)0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1.0

I ' I + '

1 111

I '

I t I I I

MODS -1 [OII]3.0.10 17

k 2.5.1047

2.0.10 -17

1.5.1047

1.0.1047

w5.0.10-18

o0.35

0.3 0.35 0.4 0.45Rest Wavelength (um)

Flux = 318'5 x10 -18 ergs s-1 cm 2 I-?N. Hm= 695 '13 km s-1kEw = -39 =1.oA

0.36 0.37 0.38 0.39Rest Wavelength (um)

MODS -2 [OII]

2.5.10 -77

2.0.1047

1.5.10-17

1.0.10 -17

5.0.10 -18

0

0.5 0.55 06

- Flux = 306'5 x1048 ergs s-1 cm2 I 1

FWHM= 690 r 13 km s-1%Ew = -39 :1.2A

0.35 0.36 0.37 0.38 0.39Rest Wavelength (um)

Figure 7: Top - Spectra of z ∼ 0.69 ULIRG obtained simultaneously with MODS-1 & MODS-2 using a 0′′.6 wideslit (R ∼ 2000) with the dual grating. The total integration time for each MODS was 3600 seconds. MODS-1data are plotted in red, MODS-2 data are plotted in blue. Prominent emission lines are identified in the rest-frame spectra. The bottom two panels show the rest-frame [OII] emission line from each spectra. Fits weremade separately to each spectrum to determine the (rest-frame corrected) integrated flux of the line, velocitybroadening of the line, and the equivalent width of the line. The measured results from each MODS are consistentwith each other. These data are part of a program by B. Rothberg to study the kinematic, star-formation, andAGN properties of 0.4 < z < 1 ULIRGs.

exposure is taken. The corrections are applied to the last fold mirror in the optical train (FM4), which liesin front of the instrument’s internal pupil. An active flexure compensation (AFC) system has been developedfor use with both diffraction- and seeing-limited observations. These corrections are applied during a scienceexposure (see Pramskiy et al. 2018 - 10702-106 this conference). Successful on-sky tests have been conductedover the last year for both variants of AFC. Updates to software and observing script preparation scripts arecurrently being under-taken by LBTO staff.

3.3.2 LUCI-1 & LUCI-2 Binocular Observations

Since 2017A LUCI-1 and LUCI-2 have been available for binocular observations. As noted in Rothberg et al.(2016),1 the LUCI software has been completely revised to incorporate binocular capabilities. Currently, theLUCIs can be configured in “twinned mode” (same pointing center, position angle, and configuration on bothsides) or “fraternal twin” mode (same pointing center and position angle, but with a mixture of instrumentconfigurations, including imaging and spectroscopy). Near-IR observations require frequent dithering to remove

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Table 1. LUCI-1 & LUCI-2 Filters Available for Science

Filter λC FWHM Filter λc FWHM

(μm) (μm) (μm) (μm)

z 0.957/0.965 0.195/0.196 He I 1.088 0.015

J 1.247/1.250 0.305/0.301 Paschen-γ 1.097/1.096 0.010

H 1.653/1.651 0.301/0.291 OH 1190 1.194 0.010

Ks 2.163/2.161 0.270 J low 1.199 0.112

K 2.194/2.199 0.408 Paschen-β 1.283/1.284 0.012

zJ spec 1.175 0.405 J high 1.303 0.108

HK spec 1.950/1.953 0.981/0.998 FeII 1.646/1.645 0.018

Y1 1.007 0.069 H2 2.124/2.127 0.023

OH 1060 1.065 0.010 Brackett-γ 2.170/2.171 0.024

Y2 1.074 0.065 ... .... ...

Note, in cases where two values are listed in an entry, the first corresponds to LUCI-1 the second to LUCI-2.

Table 2. Overview of Installed LUCI-1 & LUCI-2 Gratings

Grating Band λ-Range Spectral Width Resolution

(μm) (μm) (0′′.5 slit)

G210 z 0.85-1.02a 0.124 5400

G210 J 1.15-1.35 0.150 5800

G210 H 1.50-1.75 0.202 5900

G210 K 2.06-2.40 0.328 5000

G200 zJ 0.90-1.25a 0.220 2100-2400

G200 HK 1.40-2.40 0.440 1900-2600

G150b Ks 1.95-2.40 0.533 4150

G040b z,J,H, or K same as G210 TBD TBD

aNote that the dichroic at the entrance window to each LUCI affects the z-band transmission. The dichroic on LUCI-1

cuts off at λ = 0.85 μm and cuts off at λ = 0.95 μm on LUCI-2; bAvailable on LUCI-1 only; cThis is diffraction limited

grating available on LUCI-2 only, however it is currently not available for on-sky use. Resolution scales down as slitwidth

increases. If using the N3.75 camera multiply Δλ by 0.48, and if using the N30 camera multiple by 0.06.

sky emission from the data. This can take the form of small dithers within the same field or large dithers toa blank sky for science fields containing large, resolved objects (i.e. galaxies) or crowded fields (i.e stellar orgalaxy clusters). The mirror co-pointing limits can have a significant impact on planning and optimizing near-IRobservations, especially in fraternal twin mode. Although for longslit and MOS acquisitions each mirror is movedasynchronously, the software currently uses a synchronous mount offset for binocular observations like dithering.

3.4 Multi-Object Spectroscopic (MOS) Masks

A unique capability among the spectroscopic facility instruments (MODS and LUCI) is the capacity to usemulti-object spectroscopic masks designed by users. These masks allow the placement of multiple slits, includingstraight, angled, and curved, in the focal plane. Now that the LBT facility instruments operate in full binocularmode, the MOS capabilities include the ability to duplex observations (same MOS mask for each side) or toallow two different masks to be used for the same science field (with the caveats noted earlier). MODS andLUCI MOS masks are designed using similar software. For MODS, it is called MMS (MODS Mask Simulator).

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m

Currently, a user’s manual and quick-help can be found at www.astronomy.ohio-state.edu/~martini/mms/.The LUCI version is called LMS (LUCI Mask Simulator) and a manuals and additional information can befound at https://sites.google.com/a/lbto.org/luci/preparing-to-observe/mask-preparation. MMSand LMS use the European Southern Observatory SkyCat tool to visualize the focal plane projected on thesky. The software allows users to load any fits image file with a valid world coordinate system (WCS) or accessarchival images from the Digital Sky Survey or 2MASS (2 Micron All Sky Survey) and place slits of user-definedlength and width within the field of view of MODS or LUCI. Figure 8 shown an example image loaded into theLMS software. The galaxy is the Antennae (NGC 4038/4039), an early-stage merger was observed with HubbleSpace Telescope (HST) using the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) with the F550M filter (Whitmore et al.201034). Each of the objects for which a slit is overlaid represents a young stellar cluster detected with HST atmultiple wavelengths. This demonstrates the ability to fit a large number of slits within the focal plane. Theimage on the right in Figure 9 show the mask design. It is a Gerber (gbr) file which is sent for fabrication witha laser cutting machine located at the University Research Instrumentation Center (URIC) at the University ofArizona. For more information about fabrication and materials see Reynolds et al. 2014.35 There is a singledeadline each semester for the submission of MODS and LUCI masks to LBTO. The masks are then reviewed bythe LBTO Mask Scientist to ensure there are sufficient alignment boxes, no overlapping slits, a suitably brightguide-star, etc. As of March 2018 the LMS software has been transferred to LBTO for maintenance and futureupgrades. The software will soon be updated to allow LUCI MOS masks to make use of AFC to improve thestability of the spectra taken over long integration times.

Figure 8: Left - The main GUI for the LUCI LMS software (similar to the MODS MMS GUI). The GUI showsa WCS corrected image from HST of the Antennae with the slits overlaid. Note the square 2′′ × 2′′ referenceboxes used for alignment Right - a gbr file showing the location of slits and alignment boxes. This file containsthe information (location of boxes and slits) used to manufacture the mask at URIC.

Shown in Figure 9 (left) is the MODS MOS mask cassette system. It is located within the MODS housingand accesed through a panel on the side of the instrument. The system houses 12 permanent facility masks,including longslits ranging in width from 0′′.3 to 5′′, as well as specialized masks used for maintenance and checkson the instrument. The cassete system allows up to 12 additional user designed MOS masks to be loaded at anygiven time. The system grabs a mask (housed within a frame) and inserts it into the focal plane as requested(almost like a muisc jukebox). During acquisitions, the masks can be removed from the focal plane to take adirect image without having to re-house the mask into its slot. MODS MOS mask exchanges take place the firstday of a partner science block. If needed, MODS MOS masks can be exchanged with new masks during thenight.

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Figure 9: Left MODS mask cassette system. The access hatch is open and shown are facility masks (top ofthe cassette stack) and user designed MOS masks (bottom of the stack). This is identical for both MODS;Right - The LUCI-1 MOS unit outside of its housing (warmed to room temperature) and shown only with thepermanent mask cabinet. Shown is the grabber arm placing a mask holder (which would normally contain aMOS or long-slit mask) into the FPU. The rail system can be seen at the bottom of the image along with theslots holding other masks in place (right side of photo). Both photos by the author, B. Rothberg.

LUCI-1 and LUCI-2 each use a cryogenic MOS unit to house a set of 10 permanent facility longslit masksand up to 23 user designed MOS slit masks (Hofmann et al. 200436 and Buschkamp et al. 201037). The 10facility masks include longslit masks ranging in width from 0′′.13 (AO-only) to 2′′ as well as an N30 fieldstopmask (to block stray light) for AO observations, a blind mask (for taking dark frame exposures) and optic andspectral sieve masks. This main unit houses the focal plane unit (FPU) which places the masks in and out of theLUCI focal plane using a robotic grabber arm (see right image Figure 9). The grabber slides along set of rails toselect the requested mask, place it in the FPU, and later place the mask back in its designated slot once it is nolonger needed (and another mask is requested). When imaging mode is used, an empty mask holder is placedin the FPU to allow light to pass unobstructed to the detector. Mask exchanges are performed at cryogenictemperatures and require the use of two auxiliary cryostats in order to maintain pressure and temperatures atall times. An auxiliary cryostat holding a secondary cabinet is loaded with the next set of masks to be used forscience. It is evacuated and cooled over 24-48 hours before a scheduled exchange. During the exchange, one auxcryostat is attached to LUCI using a set of gate valves controlled by software. Rails connect the aux cryostatto LUCI. The current installed secondary cabinet is moved along the rails into the cryostat. That cryostat isremoved and a second cryostat is then attached and a secondary cabinet containing the new masks is placedinto LUCI. LUCI MOS masks cannot be extracted and then reinserted back into the MOS unit during the sameexchange. The cabinet exchange is all done on the telescope infrastructure itself. This requires the cryostats tobe lifted up through large doors in the high bay up and over the telescope and then gently placed on a platformon the telescope (located between the SX and DX mirrors where the bent Gregorian foci are located). Three tofour LUCI MOS mask exchanges are scheduled each semsester. The number of slots in the auxillary cabinet isdivied up among the partners based on the ratio of the number of science nights each partner has relative to thetotal number of nights within a block of time serviced by an exchange. Currently MOS mask exchanges for bothLUCIs can take up to a week to complete due to the time needed to cool down and warm up the cryostats (i.e.the laws of physics). The addition of a third aux-cryostat would allow mask exchanges to proceed significantlyfaster.

MODS and LUCI masks are kept in inventory on the mountain. MOS masks can be reused over the course

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of multiple semesters. With the move to all-binocular-all-the-time the standard procedure is to fabricate twocopies of MODS MOS masks and up to four copies of LUCI MOS masks (in case the same masks are requiredfor back-to-back mask exchanges). PIs are also free to use different MOS masks (some PAs and pointing center)for the same science field.

3.5 Adaptive Optics Observations with LUCI

As noted earlier, the LUCIs can be used in SL mode or enhanced by either the adaptive secondary mirrors ora laser system. Three methods of enhancement are possible. The first is ARGOS (Advanced Rayleigh guidesGround layer adaptive Optics System) a set of 6 green (λ = 0.532 μm) lasers (3 per side) used to correct forground layer atmospheric turbulence. ARGOS is designed to be used with the N3.75 camera for either imagingor spectroscopic observations. The system does not provide diffraction limited observations, but can improve theoverall image quality to ∼ 0′′.25-0′′.3 (based upon on-sky observations to date). More details regarding ARGOScan be found in Rabien et al. 2010,38 Rabien et al. 2014,39 and Rahmer et al. 2014.40

The next two methods rely on natural guide-stars used with the adaptive secondary mirrors (or AdSecs).The AdSecs have a deformable shell controlled by actuators, which in turn respond to a pyramid wave-frontsensor that uses the brightness and observed point-spread function (PSF) of a natural guide-star to determinethe appropriate corrections to compensate for atmospheric turbulence. Ideally, the AdSecs can apply up to 400modes of corrections and can correct for non-common path aberrations (NCPA) using on-axis bright naturalguide-stars. The patrol field for the FLAO system is 2′ × 3′ and encompasses the LUCI N30 FOV. This allowseach LUCI to reach the diffraction limit with the N30 camera at wavelengths from H-band and redward. Fewermodes of corrections can be applied with guide-stars that are either fainter and/or further off-axis. For moredetailed information on construction, commissioning, and o perations see Esposito et al. (2010,41 201242),Christou et al. (2016),43 Miller et al. (2016),44 and Christou et al. (2018 - 10703-10 this conference). LUCI-AOimaging has been available on a shared-risk basis in some capacity at LBT since 2017A. In the last year the theLBT Observing Tool for generating scripts has been updated to allow users to generate binocular (or binocular)LUCI-AO scripts. LUCI-AO observations have been carried out by some members of the LBT partnership andwork continues to better characterize the system. In the summer of 2018, the FLAO system will be upgradedto the next generation Single conjugated adaptive Optics Upgrade for LBT (SOUL). This upgrade will allow forfor improved corrections and for AO reference stars 1.5-2 magnitudes fainter to be used, thus opening up moreof the sky for diffraction limited or AO-enhanced observations (see Pinna et al. 201645 for more information).

One downside to diffraction limited and AO-enhanced observations is the limitation of 30′′ × 30′′ FOVimposed by the N30 camera. Since 2015, the FLAO system has also included an improved (but seldom used)seeing capability using the larger N3.75 camera. This mode is called “Enhanced Seeing Mode” (ESM) and uses12 modes of corrections (including tip and tilt) to improve the angular resolution over the full 4′ × 4′ field ofview of the N3.75 camera. ESM is designed to improve imaging and spectroscopy (longslit and MOS). During2018A LBTO staff have worked to better understand the capabilities of ESM. In this paper we present some ofthe preliminary work characterizing ESM in various conditions.

As part of the more detailed characterization of ESM, observations of the periphery of M92 were obtainedunder a variety of conditions, including seeing from 0′′.5-2′′.0 and with AO reference stars of varying brightness(R = 13.4 and 15.1). Observations were obtained with both LUCI-1 and LUCI-2 with the K-band filter only.ESM was turned on for one set of data, then the observations were repeated under SL conditions (ESM off).Subsequent observations were obtained of several interacting and merging galaxies of varying size to test theability of ESM to deal with resolved objects. These observations were obtained with K-band, KS, H-band, J-band, and a narrow Brγ filter. The preliminary results for M92 are presented here for LUCI-1 for two epochs withvery different seeing conditions. The data were reduced using IRAF. The reduction process includes linearizationcorrections, bad pixel masking, flat-fielding, and the moasicing of dithered images into a single image using theIRAF tasks geomap and geotran which correct for shifts, rotation, and any distortions from optics. The IRAF

task DAOFIND was then used to identify stars in the crowded field for each final mosaic image. Non-astronomicalobjects and stars near the edges of the FOV were removed using an automated IDL routine. The IRAF taskradprof was then used to measure a Guassian full-width at half maximum (FWHM) for every star. For eachstar the distance to the AO reference star was calculated. Figure 10 shows a plot of the FWHM in angular unitsof arcseconds plotted against the radial distance from the AO reference star for the two epochs (top row). A

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least-squares fit was made to the ESM data plotted in both figures. The red diamonds represent the SL data andthe black circles represent the ESM data. Plotted below each panel is the average seeing measured by AGW-1during the time of the observations (obtained from telemetry). This shows the highly variable and poor seeingconditions on UT 2018-05-05 versus the relatively stable and good seeing on UT 2018-05-16. The preliminaryresults shown in Figure 10 suggest that ESM can provide a significant improvement in image quality (∼ 3×),particularly in poor conditions (top left panel). This may be of significant benefit to partner science during boutsof poor weather. In the best seeing conditions (top right panel) ESM shows not only a factor of two improvementin image quality, but that the improvement is relatively uniform, with small scatter, up to 150′′ away from theAO reference star. Analysis of this data is ongoing and full results will be presented in an upcoming paper.

Figure 10: Top Left - a comparison of the ESM versus SL data obtained in relatively poor conditions. Top Right- similar to the previous panel, but using data obtained under excellent seeing conditions. Noted in both panelsis the range of seeing (zenith corrected) measured by the Differential Image Motion Monitor (DIMM) during theobservations. Plotted in the bottom left and right panels is the average seeing measured by the AGW duringthe observations.

4. MIXED-MODE USE

The goal of LBT is to use the telescope in binocular mode all of the time. While the facility instruments havebeen designed to work in pairs in binocular mode, the telescope can also be figured to use instruments in a “mixedmode.” These modes could include configurations such as MODS/LBC, LUCI/LBC, and LUCI/MODS. Mixed-Mode use opens up a much wider wavelength range for scientific study (i.e. UV through near-IR simultaneously).As noted earlier, the two sides of the telescope are not required to point at the same exact spot on the sky, andcan operate as two independent telescopes as long as they do not violate the co-pointing limits. However, acurrent limitation of using Mixed-Mode is the ability to pass a binocular preset from two different instrumentsto the TCS. Since 2014, several combinations of Mixed-Mode have been used on-sky. These primarily have beenan LBC with either a LUCI or a MODS. In the case of LUCI/LBC, the telescope can be authorized in binocular

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mode. The TCS waits to receive a preset sent from each instrument before moving to the field. Once there,LUCI imaging starts immediately or LUCI spectroscopic acquisitions can begin. The LBC can either stare orbegin a dither sequence. The only requirment for the dithering sequence is that the first dither in the sequencebe no moves in X and Y. In the case of MODS/LBC, the telescope is set up in a hybrid configuration called“pseudo-monocular.” MODS “drives” the mount, i.e. the preset is sent only by MODS while LBC is “along forthe ride.” LBC does not send a preset to the TCS (a value of -90◦ in the Declination coordinate is used for theLBC script). Once on target, the MODS imaging starts immediately or the spectroscopic acquisitions begin.Just as with LUCI/LBC, the LBC can dither, so long as the first sequence of the dither is no movement in X orY (0,0). Since Rothberg et al. 20161 we conducted on-sky testing of LUCI/MODS in January 2017. Tests wereconducted in full binocular mode and pseudo-monocular mode. Although not successful on-sky, the testing didresult in updates to how the LUCI software interacts with the TCS and the non-LUCI side. The net result wasa fix which should allow LUCI/MODS to work on-sky in full binocular mode and has been shown to work witha telescope simulator. To date, however, this fix has not been tested on-sky.

5. SUMMARY

Although all of the facility instruments were installed on the telescope by 2014, LBT has not been capableof regular nightly binocular observations with all three facility instruments until recently. With the updatesto scripting software, and updates to both the TCS and instrument software, routine binocular observationswith pairs of instruments in twinned or frateral mode are now more commonplace. Work continues to improvemixed mode capabilites, with LUCI/MODS remaining the final configuration to be successfully executed on-sky.However, work remains to make binocular operations more robust. By far, the most important componentis a binocular planning tool that can efficicently organize observations so as to take into account co-pointinglimits and maximze shutter time for each mirror. Another, is the ability to switch from binocular to monocularobservations on the fly in case of instrument or telescope issues. Such capabilities are not yet robust across allthree facility instruments. Future binocular possibilities may include mixed mode operations between facilityand PI or strategic instruments, particularly in cases of target of opportunity observations.

Since 2016 the use of LUCI+AO has moved from the commissioning phase to a shared-risk availability forour partners (currently this does not include TSIP). LUCI-AO imaging has been conducted in binocular mode,and ARGOS has moved on from a commissioning phase to availability for science observations each semester ona shared-risk basis. LUCI-AO spectroscopy still remains to be fully commissioned and is not available for scienceoperations. The main issue holding back this mode is the current instability in the G040 grating on LUCI-2.The ESM mode for both LUCIs is currently an option for science observations which require a large FOV or forspectroscopy. A full characterization of ESM still remains to be completed, including spectroscopy. The resultspresented here show ESM has a promising future, not just for the best conditions, but to improve the imagequality delivered to each LUCI in mediocre or even poor conditions where AO and ARGOS cannot operate.

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