DECam is a high-performance, wide-field CCD imager mounted at the prime focus of the Blanco 4-m telescope at CTIO. DECam imager contains 62 science CCDs with 520 megapixels and images 3 square degrees (2.2 degree wide field) at 0.27 arcsecond/pixel resolution.
DECam was built to carry out the Dark Energy Survey (DES) Project by the DES Collaboration, which is a Fermilab-led international collaboration of over 120 scientists from 15 institutions and consortia in the USA, UK, Spain, Brazil and Germany. DECam is an NOAO facility instrument, available to all users. The DES Collaboration, in exchange for the instrument and a community pipeline will receive 525 nights over 5 years to carry out the Dark Energy Survey. The project is funded by the DOE and NSF, the funding agencies of the UK, Spain, Brazil, and Germany, and contributions from the Collaboration institutions.
2013 October 28: ETC updated to correct an incorrect value for the telescope collecting area.
2013 August 28 (update October 28)-- A VR filter, covering 500-760 nm so approximately twice the bandpass of the SDSS filters, has been ordered. It is expected to arrive in January-March 2014 and be installed for the 2014B semester.
2013 April 10:
Exposure Time Calculator updated - now handles all lunar phases
2013 March 13:
Tracking & Guiding are now no longer issues for the delivered image quality
We’ll be optimizing the guider algorithm to improve star selection in crowded regions, guide star recovery in clouded conditions, etc. Use of guider “auto” mode depends on having good pointing
Pointing – there has been some improvement with bug fixes and new pointing models. But rms across the sky is still ~ 60 arc sec, target 10 arc sec.
The telescope seems more sensitive to wind buffeting, we are revising protocols for use of the wind blind and closing the windows.
2013 February 25-27 Engineering Run:
The RA and declination servos were successfully re-optimized to compensate for telescope improvements, leading to an overall significant improvement in guiding in RA and declination. Preliminary results show no RA or dec guiding oscillations, in all parts of the sky. Open loop tracking was also improved--preliminary results show smooth behavior over the sky, max 1.0 arcsec/min (which is within specs).