Over the past three years, the Navy Precision Optical Interferometer (NPOI) has been undergoing significant expansion toward its ultimate design goal of six siderostats that can be moved among up to 30 stations. The additional stations that will become available by next spring include E7 (98 m baseline with W7), plus E10 and W10 (432 m baseline between them). Several other close-in stations will produce baselines as short as 7 m tailored to large-scale targets. Significant upgrades to the NPOI backend are also under way. The VISION beam combiner, based on single-mode fiber spatial filtering and a photon-counting CCD and very similar in design to the MIRC combiner at the CHARA array, has been installed and is on its shakedown cruise. The NPOI's current "Classic" combiner is undergoing firmware improvements that will increase both the spectral range and the number of baselines simultaneously available. Coupled with concurrent improvements to the delay line controllers, these developments should significantly increase data quality and instrumental efficiency. Finally, many of the the initial preparations for adding four 1.8 m telescopes (the former Keck outrigger telescopes, now owned by USNO) have been completed, and funding for the first installations is anticipated.
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts #223
- Pub Date:
- January 2014