Access to Visitor Instruments

New Instrumental Capabilities at SOAR

(updated November 9 for 2018A 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 and continuing until further notice. 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. Proposals are submitted through standard partner TAC processes after coordinating with Andrei.
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 Early Science

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.
This capability is less mature than HRCam, and requires more support, so it is being made available on a limited basis:

  • Initial runs occurred in 2018B and 2017A. We are scheduling a third run in 2018A, Feb. 16-19 (4 nights). Time for individual programs is being coordinated separately from the normal TAC processes, see the SAM-FP instrument page.

Prospective proposers should coordinate with Claudia Mendes de Oliveira ( beforehand.
Support, 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 are provided in the special announcement on the instrument page (link above).