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Instrumentation - 2009

Camera GUFI

The Vatican Observatory Research Group and the Centre for Astronomy, National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway), agreed upon a memo of understanding whereby the Galway Ultra Fast Imager (GUFI) would be located at VATT for a year starting on June 1st, 2009, with provision for renewing the agreement. This L3CCD instrument, based on a DV887 iXon Camera, has practically zero deadtime between exposures and so is particularly suited to monitoring or obtaining the period of rapidly varying objects.

The advantages of placing this state-of-the-art instrument on a reliable telescope in a high quality observing site led to the agreement. The research collaborator of the NUI Galway group at the Vatican Observatory is Boyle, and the instrument is available to all VATT users.

Aaron Golden, Gregg Hallinan, Leon Harding, and Ray Butler (NUI Galway) were guided by Franz in the rebuilding of GUFI to match the extremely fi ne imaging tolerances of VATT and in the placement of the instrument and its dedicated computer. The success of this collaboration was evident in the very smooth commissioning phase of GUFI at VATT, well in time to take part in a multi-telescope observing campaign later in June. All VATT’s engineering team was involved in the installation, and Harvey joined Boyle in becoming an approved supporter of other GUFI observers.

Assembly of the Camera GUFI by Leon Harding and Ned Franz.
Richard Boyle Photography


When not on the mountain, the VATT engineering team has been working on the new optical spectrograph, “VattSpec.” They have optically aligned the instrument and tested the new electronics for axis control. Harvey and Johnson are writing the low level control code and GUI respectively. Completion of the software is scheduled for late 2009, and testing of the complete software and mechanics will begin soon thereafter.

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