USNO Robotic Astrometric Telescope

URAT: First Light (Washington)

URAT had successful first light on Aug 23 2011. The 4-shooter camera arrived on Thu, Aug 18 and was lifted into the dome at USNO Washington DC the following day. By Tue, Aug 23 all was installed at the astrograph and the dewar filled with LN2. First light was the same night, with more test observing performed on Wed night. All 4 10k detectors and all 3 guide CCDs are working. A single raw frame is 1 GB. A first look revealed stellar images of about 2.5 pixel FWHM at 0.9 arcsec/pixel are seen all over the focal plane with some degradation at one corner due to tilt of the array, which can be adjusted easily. Noise properties are as expected and the dewar is nicely holding vacuum and operating temperature at -80 C.

Gary Wieder and Norbert Zacharias holding the Bonn shutter of URAT. The shutter is about 1 meter in length.

Observing in Washington DC, August 30, 2011 (photos: Rich Schmidt). Seen in the photo at left are Norbert Zacharias and Ted Rafferty (USNO ret). In the photo at right are Rafferty and Charlie Finch.