Access to Visitor Instruments

New Instrumental Capabilities at SOAR

(updated September 2, 2016 for 2017A proposals)

The investigators associated with two “visitor” instruments at SOAR are offering limited access to observers outside of the instrument teams, starting in semester 2016B. In both cases, the instrument teams will provide support for observers, in exchange for participation in the scientific results. In both cases, also, proposers should coordinate with the instrument PI before submitting a proposal.


HRCam is an instrument developed by Andrei Tokovinin (NOAO) that can be used for speckle interferometry (details on Tokovinin's web pages. It can be used with or without operating the adaptive optics system. The second mode is preferred for bright targets as overheads are lower, the first for fainter targets.
Support for the instrument is provided by Andrei Tokovinin, who will assist both with the actual observations and with data reduction – proposers should expect to get fully reduced data shortly after the run ends.
In order to propose for the instrument, you must contact Andrei Tokovinin ( before proposing, and he should be included as a co-investigator on the proposal and a co-author on resulting papers. There are currently no constraints on the number of nights that can be allocated, but scheduling needs to take into account Andrei’s other commitments.
For NOAO proposers, the instrument should be specified as “HRCAM” if you are proposing to work without adaptive optics activated, and as “SAMHR” if you are proposing to work with the adaptive optics. Note that in the latter case, all the constraints associated with laser use apply (early submission of target lists for clearance, etc.)

SAM Fabry-Perot

SAM can also operate with a Fabry-Perot etalon inserted in the collimated beam. This capability was developed by Claudia Mendes de Oliveira (U. Sao Paulo), her collaborators, and Andrei Tokovinin. A paper describing some early results is provided here. Note that this is a draft version and is subject to change during the submission/publication process.
This capability is less mature than HRCam, so it is being made available on a phased basis:

  • An initial science verification (SV) run was scheduled in 2016B, September 29 - October 2. Proposals for the SV were handled via a separate call for proposals (check the SOAR website or e-mail us if you want to be notified). The SV was open to all observers, but preference will be given to people and proposals capable of demonstrating the range of science that can be performed with the capability.
  • We hope to offer a similar block of time in 2017A, but we will wait and see how successful the first block of time is before making a decision on the schedule and number of nights. The announcement will be posted to the news page, but if you would like to be notified, please e-mail SOAR support staff or one of the SAM F-P team members.
  • We would like to transition to a more integrated proposal process, but need to gain more experience supporting the instrument before doing so.,

Prospective proposers should coordinate with Claudia Mendes de Oliveira ( beforehand.
Support for the SV, including data reduction, will be provided by the F-P team; the key support people should be included as co-authors on the resulting papers.
Further details will be provided in the SV announcement.