By John Hutchings (NRC)
(Cassiopeia – Winter 2014)
The GALEX UV image of M33 with the UVIT field of view superposed. UVIT will have several times better resolution, and a suite of filters and gratings for such studies.
The Astrosat observatory is a step closer to operations, with the delivery to ISRO of the qualified and calibrated UVIT telescopes. Integration of the five instruments into the spacecraft, and testing of their combined operations is beginning. This process will take at least 6 months before Astrosat is ready for launch. Operations and data processing pipeline software are in test, and early observations (commissioning and baseline science) are in planning. The UVIT delivery follows months of intense work by CSA, ComDev, IIA, and the instrument team, that included working visits to India by CSA’s Jason Rooney, detector expert Joe Postma, and myself.
On this schedule, early science will begin after commissioning in late 2015, and proposal time will begin six months later. The instrument teams are making detailed plans for guaranteed time observations, some of which are simultaneous monitoring at all wavelengths from hard X-ray to visible. The Astrosat website gives an overview of its capabilities. If you have ideas for early science, let me know, as it may be possible to work them into the UVIT observing plans.