• SOAR Aluminizing Shutdown - Final Update

    Updated, Nov. 28, 2018

    This is a brief summary of the SOAR aluminizing shutdown. The purpose of the shutdown was to re-coat the secondary (M2) and tertiary (M3) mirrors, which together account for approximately 2/3 of the reflectivity loss since the last aluminization in late 2009. We did not get satisfactory results on our tests in preparation for doing the primary mirror, so we are not re-coating that mirror at this time.
    This reduced the length of the planned shutdown, so we were able to return approximately 3 weeks of scheduled shutdown for science use.

  • TESS Follow-Up at SOAR

    NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) released its first list of exo-planet candidates on Sep. 5, 2018.  This list comprises 73 objects, of which a subset of 46 candidates was observed with HRCam on SOAR, on Sep. 24, with the goal of detecting close companions. A quarter of the targets were found to have such companions, with separations ranging from 0.08" to 1.5". Only two of those binaries were known previously. 

  • Goodman Radial Velocity Measurements - Update

    With a a little care, the Goodman HTS is capable of producing accurate radial velocities. For typical stars, the results are accurate to a few km/sec at moderate spectral resolution. It is, however, necessary to follow optimum procedures when observing to ensure quality results. A detailed report is now available, supplementing older material.

  • SOAR Projects Status

    The SOAR Board meets in person every year, typically in August (more often if needed). As part of the meeting, the Director presents a report on SOAR projects. Since a lot has happened over the last year, and will be continuing into next year, the report (with some minor edits) is being more generally available at this link. The report summarizes the status on a variety of projects, where those of particular interest include:

  • Solar System Occultations at SOAR

    SOAR has supported observations of stellar occultations by solar system objects for many years. Occultations are used to measure the sizes of solar system objects, as well as to search for companion objects, or features such a rings or atmospheres.

    In the past, these observations were performed using high-speed cameras brought by visiting astronomers for temporary installation on the telescope. These small, portable instruments interface easily to SOAR, and have been used on multiple visits. However, such observations require significant logistics and advance planning.