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OSIS Active Guiding


The guiding system in OSIS computes the instantaneous centroid of a given guide star and corrects for its random motion at frequencies up to ~20 Hz. The OSIS active guiding is rarely used in Infra-Red observations, as its impact on the image quality is much lower than in visible.


The OSIS active guiding can be used in three different ways, one being the normal mode of operation, the others alternatives which could be used if needed.

Tip/tilt mirror and APD

Figure 3 shows the guide probe window displayed when the "GUIDE-PROBE" form is activated. Since the guide probe location in the focal plane versus position on the detector is well known. When you enter the detector coordinates of a star, measured on a previous exposure, into the guide probe window, the probe will move to that position when you click on the button Move Probe to Guide Star. To maintain this mapping accuracy, the procedure CALIB must be run after each mounting of a detector. This is done by the observatory staff during the set-up.

FIGURE 3: The guider window

Figure 4 shows the available domain for the guide probe motion, compared to the science field with the (now-defunct) CCD, STIS2 (2048 x 2048 21 µm pixels). Figure 5 shows a typical science image, again with STIS2, showing the vignetting caused by the guide probe.

The accessible field is about 3' x 4.5'. The scale for the probe motion is: 1 step = 7.5 µm in the focal plane. The field of view for the probe is 3", divided in 4 quadrants. The "garage" position reads X = 4000; Y = 6200 for the probe coordinates. When moving the guide probe to a star, allow some time for the display of the star position in the window to update or look at the oscilloscope which gives a real time display.

The present guide probe is quite large, and there is no way with to avoid a shadowing effect of the guide probe on the field. For some programs doing multi-slit spectroscopy, locating the guide probe in the science field may be tolerated. On the other hand, it is better to minimize the occultation for direct imaging programs (see Figure 5). This can be achieved with the X coordinate of the guide probe close to the maximum value of 4000. We recommend that observers choose guide-stars for each of their fields in advance. Sometimes, a slight decentering and/or bonnette rotation may also be needed in order to minimize occultation. The size of the obscuration region may be seen in the following schematic:

                     A     B     C
no obscuration      68"   55"   81"
full obscuration    51"   42"   63"

            /               |
 ----------+                |
    ^                       |  ^
    B          X            |  A
    v                       |  v
 ----------+                |
            \               |

             |<----- C ---->|

FIGURE 4: Guide probe domain

FIGURE 5: Science image with Guide Probe


The OSIS guiding system was tested on various stars after the change of detectors (from photomultipliers to avalanche photo-diodes). In the field of H1413+117 (a typical high galactic latitude field) only 3 stars were bright enough for guiding attempts. Below are listed their R magnitudes and measured total fluxes (in counts/s above the sky level of 2800).

TABLE 1. OSIS guider performances
Star R mag. Flux
45 16.9 ~4000
19 17.9 ~1000
40 18.4 ~600

Guiding on brighter stars is more practical and allows a range of integration frequencies up to 100 Hz. The gain in image resolution, versus Cass bonnette guiding, is of the order of 0.1"- 0.2" (typically, 0.5" - 0.6" versus 0.7") but we do not yet have a large enough body of statistics to study the dependance of image improvement on guide-star brightness.

We observed image improvement relative to the Cass bonnette guiding for the first 2 stars with a guiding integration time 0.1 s and still for star 40 with an integration time of 0.2 s. However, this corresponds to the practical limiting magnitude; the S/N ratio in each quadrant was only ~2.3 with this integration time. A practical rule for choosing a suitable guide star is to have at least 1000 counts/s above the sky background, which corresponds roughly to R = 18.0 and V = 18.5.

The degree of image improvement also depends on the turbulence regime when you observe. We can, however, recommend the following values for the integration time of the tip-tilt mirror command:

This assumes a dark sky (sky background around 3000 counts/s). During grey time, adjust the integration time in order to have at least S/N = 2 for each quadrant. The best images obtained to date have image qualities a little below 0.4", which is similar to HR Cam performance. Long exposures (~30 min) show resolutions similar to the short (30 s) exposures, and demonstates the good reliability of the stabilizing system. Another point, important for the multi-slit spectroscopy mode, is that the image position is very stable on the CCD. For a given field, the centroid of a star moves by less than 0.09" in 2 hr. The flexures between the guide probe and the detector are thus negligible.

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