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Cryogenic Instrument for Hawaii

CryoNIRSP, the Cryogenic Infra-red Spectropolarimeter, will be one of the first-light instruments on the DKIST (Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope) currently under construction in Maui, Hawaii.

In September 2018, Observatory Sciences consultants Becky Williams and Alan Greer visited the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy to integrate our control system software with the CryoNIRSP instrument hardware. The control software developed by OSL is responsible for configuring and positioning all mechanisms within the instrument (which can be as many as 15, depending on the observation) and instructing the two infra-red cameras (one for the Context Imager and the other for the Spectrograph) on how to operate.

The software accommodates the configuration of three different modes for camera acquisition as well as four different observing mode set-ups including using a single camera, both in succession or two running simultaneously. The synchronisation of the mechanisms and the camera system is paramount and has proved one of the more challenging areas of the project. The team successfully integrated the software with the instrument hardware currently available in Maui, including state of the art infrared cameras, the polarisation modulator and a Delta Tau motion controller responsible for controlling all of the mechanisms involved in the instrument set-up (including scanning mirrors, filters, slit wheel, focus, lamp and grating). Real time motion was also successfully configured by the OSL software providing the capability to scan fields during the observation, with mechanism moves synchronised with the times the camera is not acquiring.

By demonstrating the full capabilities of the control software to run several types of observation and manage all mechanisms from start to finish, the hardware integration trip was considered a complete success.

Further work continues for OSL on the CryoNIRSP project, notably involvement with the data processing side and the creation of displays to view the calibrated incoming data.

Software for Astronomy and Physics Projects