Near-infrared Studies with a Small Telescope

Kanneganti, Srikrishna, Department of Astronomy, University of Virginia
Skrutskie, Michael, Department of Astronomy, University of Virginia

I led the design, construction and commissioning of a Near-Infrared Camera for the Fan Mountain Observatory under the guidance of Michael F. Skrutskie. The Fan Mountain Near-Infrared Camera (FanCam) provides the University of Virginia's 31- in telescope with a near-infrared observing capability that is relatively unique among small-aperture telescopes. FanCam features an 8.7 ′ ×8.7 ′ field of view on a 1024×1024 Teledyne Imaging Sensors HAWAII-1 detector array. The instrument mounts at the f/15.5 focus of the 31-in telescope. Its seeing-limited optical design, optimized for the JHK s atmospheric bands, includes a field stop at the telescope focus, a doublet collimator, two 8-position filterwheels straddling a Lyot stop, and a doublet reimager. Four fold mirrors wrap the optical path onto a compact optical bench. The 0.51 ′′ /pixel plate scale leads to a slightly oversampled point spread function for the typical seeing of 1.5 ′′ . The entire optical train is encased in a cryogenic dewar cooled by a closed-loop cooling system. I describe here the optical, mechanical, cryogenic and electronic design of the camera as well as some early results that illustrate FanCam's capabilities. I present results from an observing campaign of around 30 nights spanning two years to investigate suspected 10-30 minute periodicities in the Intra-Day Variability of OJ 287. I also detail various other smaller projects in which I participated during my studies here.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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