HIMALAYAN CHANDRA TELESCOPE
Mt. Saraswati, Hanle
(Deadlines: 1 March; 1 July; 1 November)
The 2-m Himalayan Chandra Telescope (HCT) at the Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO), Mt. Saraswati, Digpa-ratsa Ri, Hanle at an altitude of 4500 m (15000 ft) above msl is operated by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bangalore. It is remotely operated using a dedicated satellite communication link from the Centre for Research & Education in Science & Technology (CREST), Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Hosakote, about 35 km northeast of Bangalore. The Himalayan Faint Object Spectrograph Camera (HFOSC) and the Near-infrared camera are available for regular observations. The Telescope is available to the astronomical community, though some time is reserved for observations of Target of Opportunity programmes and service observations. Guest astronomers may need to accomodate such programmes in a part of their allotted time, and will be compensated suitably in subsequent allotments. The guest observers are welcome to participate and collaborate on such programmes undertaken during the time allotted to them.
Some time will be used for preventive maintenance of the telescope and instruments (scheduled around full moon), and for site characterization activity (e.g. site extinction).
The HCT Time Allocation Committee (HTAC) has been constituted by the Director, IIA, with A.K. Pati (Chairman), T.P. Prabhu, M.V. Mekkaden, G.C. Anupama, B.E. Reddy, S. Sengupta, P.S. Parihar and P.Sreekumar (ISAC) as members. HTAC invites observing proposals from astronomers.
Proposals are called for three times a year for the cycle periods January-April; May-August; September-December. The deadlines are: 1 March (May-Aug); 1 July (Sep-Dec); 1 Nov (Jan-Apr).
Guest observers can operate the telescope and instrument from CREST using the satellite communication link. Telescope operators are not generally available at present, but the astronomers at CREST and engineers from IAO will introduce the guest observers to the user interfaces for operation and to the procedures for downloading the data during the day. There could be occasional problems at night which can be attended to by experts only during the following day.
The current performance of the telescope is:
Pointing accuracy: 3 arcsec rms
Tracking accuracy: 1.38 arcsec (mean) over 10 minutes (open loop)
Image quality: 0.7 arcsec diameter (80% power)
Note: If the autoguider is not used, integration times of only 10 to 20 minutes are possible, depending on the location of the object in the sky.