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Unveiling the dynamic infrared sky with Gattini-IR

Moore, Anna M. and Kasliwal, Mansi M. and Gelino, Christopher R. and Jencson, Jacob E. and Jones, Mike I. and Kirkpatrick, J. Davy and Lau, Ryan M. and Ofek, Eran and Petrunin, Yuri and Smith, Roger and Terebizh, Valery and Steinbring, Eric and Yan, Lin (2016) Unveiling the dynamic infrared sky with Gattini-IR. In: Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes VI. Proceedings of SPIE. No.9906. Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) , Bellingham, WA, Art. No. 99062C. ISBN 978-1-5106-0191-8.

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While optical and radio transient surveys have enjoyed a renaissance over the past decade, the dynamic infrared sky remains virtually unexplored. The infrared is a powerful tool for probing transient events in dusty regions that have high optical extinction, and for detecting the coolest of stars that are bright only at these wavelengths. The fundamental roadblocks in studying the infrared time-domain have been the overwhelmingly bright sky background (250 times brighter than optical) and the narrow field-of-view of infrared cameras (largest is 0.6 sq deg). To begin to address these challenges and open a new observational window in the infrared, we present Palomar Gattini-IR: a 25 sq degree, 300mm aperture, infrared telescope at Palomar Observatory that surveys the entire accessible sky (20,000 sq deg) to a depth of 16.4 AB mag (J band, 1.25μm) every night. Palomar Gattini-IR is wider in area than every existing infrared camera by more than a factor of 40 and is able to survey large areas of sky multiple times. We anticipate the potential for otherwise infeasible discoveries, including, for example, the elusive electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational wave detections. With dedicated hardware in hand, and a F/1.44 telescope available commercially and cost-effectively, Palomar Gattini-IR will be on-sky in early 2017 and will survey the entire accessible sky every night for two years. We present an overview of the pathfinder Palomar Gattini-IR project, including the ambitious goal of sub-pixel imaging and ramifications of this goal on the opto-mechanical design and data reduction software. Palomar Gattini-IR will pave the way for a dual hemisphere, infrared-optimized, ultra-wide field high cadence machine called Turbo Gattini-IR. To take advantage of the low sky background at 2.5 μm, two identical systems will be located at the polar sites of the South Pole, Antarctica and near Eureka on Ellesmere Island, Canada. Turbo Gattini-IR will survey 15,000 sq. degrees to a depth of 20AB, the same depth of the VISTA VHS survey, every 2 hours with a survey efficiency of 97%.

Item Type:Book Section
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Moore, Anna M.0000-0002-2894-6936
Kasliwal, Mansi M.0000-0002-5619-4938
Jencson, Jacob E.0000-0001-5754-4007
Kirkpatrick, J. Davy0000-0003-4269-260X
Ofek, Eran0000-0002-6786-8774
Yan, Lin0000-0003-1710-9339
Additional Information:© 2016 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). We acknowledge and greatly thank the Mt. Cuba Astronomical Foundation and the California Institute of Technology for the generous support of this project. We greatly thank Palomar Observatory for the opportunity to install Palomar Gattini-IR at this historic site and the donation of in-kind hardware.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Mt. Cuba Astronomical FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Wide field infrared transient imaging in the Arctic and Antarctic
Series Name:Proceedings of SPIE
Issue or Number:9906
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170111-074918172
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Anna M. Moore ; Mansi K. Kasliwal ; Christopher R. Gelino ; Jacob E. Jencson ; Mike I. Jones ; J. Davy Kirkpatrick ; Ryan M. Lau ; Eran Ofek ; Yuri Petrunin ; Roger Smith ; Valery Terebizh ; Eric Steinbring ; Lin Yan; Unveiling the dynamic infrared sky with Gattini-IR. Proc. SPIE 9906, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes VI, 99062C (August 8, 2016); doi:10.1117/12.2233694.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:73407
Deposited On:11 Jan 2017 17:39
Last Modified:11 Nov 2021 05:16

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