Astrosat Observatory Update

By John Hutchings (NRC)
(Cassiopeia – Spring/printemps 2017)

M31 FUV F1 7981sec

ISRO’s Astrosat observatory is in regular operations and all instruments are working well. The UVIT telescopes, for which Canada supplied the photon-counting detectors, are performing well above spec and have no sign of degradation after 18 months in orbit. The accompanying image shows the centre of M31 in the FUV (roughly 150nm wavelength), from a program of Denis Leahy. The hot population around the nucleus, dust clouds, and young clusters in the spiral arms, are evident. Other Canadian observing programs range from X-ray binaries to star-forming galaxies, AGN, and galaxy clusters.

Refinements in drift correction and distortion corrections by CSA’s science support, Joe Postma, are producing matched images with 0.9” to 1.0” resolution in various filters, and the ability to do time analysis of fluxes. UVIT and the three X-ray instruments all observe together, allowing for multi-wavelength investigations. Canada has guaranteed 5% of observing time, and cycles will be for a full year, beginning this October. Expect a call for proposals around June. Astrosat will also be open for a quota of international proposals in future, and discussions are under way for a single TAC process. Proposal pressure from India remains high.

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