ASTEP: Present status / Assessment
by Tristan Guillot - 9 September 2009
October 10, 2009: Last day at the Observatoire de Nice for ASTEP 400 !
After one last observation night, ASTEP 400 has been dismantled and put in a box to be shipped to Concordia. All the operations went very smoothly. The instrument is now in charge of IPEV. It should get to Concordia at the end of November.
Notice that the camera box is protected in a thermal enclosure, and fixed to the telescope through a 3 point system that allows an easy removal. This should greatly facilitate any work on the camera, lenses or thermal system at Concordia. Any future improvements should be easy to implement.
July to October 2009: Tests at the Observatoire de Nice
ASTEP 400 has seen its first light, and tests of the telescope have been ungoing in Nice from July to September 2009.
September-October 2009: A few observations of transiting planets (HAT-P-5b, HD189733b, HAT-P-7b), and an asteroid: Daphne - Unfortunately, the presence of trees(!) on the observation site limited the observation time and we were able to retrieve only partial transits.
August-September 2009: Software tests (data acquisition, pointing, guiding)
View of the man-machine interface
July-August 2009: Image quality (Roddier test, CCD acquisitions, tests of PSFs homogeneity)
In July, tests in the climatic chamber installed at the observatoire de Nice were performed. The camera enclosure was thermalized and shown to function at temperatures from -30°C to -70°C without any problem.
Installation of the climatic chamber
May-June 2009: Assembling the telescope and camera box
After a long wait, the pieces necessary to assemble the camera box are ready.
The image above shows the mirror that splits half of the light to send the red channel to the scientific camera and the blue to the guiding camera. The light from telescope would come from the table on this image.