Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer (MSE) Update

By/par Patrick Hall, MSE Management Group Member
(Cassiopeia – Winter/hivers 2017)

The MSE Project Office has concluded a successful series of subsystem conceptual design reviews which occurred throughout 2017. The design as reviewed is expected to be very capable of achieving the high-level MSE science goals. As a not entirely random example, the site, enclosure, telescope, and wide field corrector optics are expected to deliver 0.51-arcsecond mean R-band seeing to the focal plane at zenith. The MSE Systems Conceptual Design Review will be conducted in January 2018 by a high profile external panel chaired by Michael Strauss (Princeton).

As this newsletter goes to press, the MSE Management Group is about to hold its annual meeting at CFHT Headquarters. The Management Group outgoing chair (Jean-Gabriel Cuby) and the incoming chair (Pat Hall) will join Project Manager Rick Murowinski and Project Scientist Alan McConnachie in reporting to the CFHT Board later that same week. The Management Group will be discussing the pre-construction phase Statement of Understanding to establish the framework within which existing and new MSE partners will proceed with the preliminary design of MSE. To publicize the upcoming preliminary design phase of MSE to existing and potential new partners, an MSE prospectus is being developed and MSE representatives are attending meetings related to wide-field spectroscopy and US decadal survey planning.

Canadian participation in MSE conceptual and preliminary design work to date has focused on the MSE Fiber Transport System. Darren Erickson (NRC Herzberg) and industry partners Fibertech Optica have been working on testing plans for the Fiber Transport System with UVic student interns under the auspices of the NSERC CREATE training program ‘New Technologies for Canadian Observatories’. To support the testing, an NSERC Research Tools & Infrastructure grant has been submitted (PI Venn); results will be known next year. Other support proposals are in the early planning stages; for details, contact Pat Hall.

The MSE website is mse.cfht.hawaii.edu. Questions or comments about MSE governance can be directed to your MSE Management Group Members, Greg Fahlman and Pat Hall. Scientific questions or comments can be directed to your MSE Science Advisory Group Members, Sarah Gallagher and Kim Venn.

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