Instrumentation projects

The Advanced Instrumentation Technology Centre at Mount Stromlo is a world-class facility for developing and testing astronomical instrumentation, small satellites, and space payloads. It is not only the heart of the RSAA technical program, but hosts industry and research partnerships and collaborations in astronomical instrumentation and space research. This page provides a snapshot of some of the exciting programs that are being and have been going on at RSAA.

Current projects

Adaptive Optics Demonstrator for space debris tracking

Space debris, also known as space junk, is a collection of objects in orbit around the Earth consisting of expired spacecraft, bodies of old launchers, and fragments from missiles and satellite explosions. As the orbits of these...

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Australian Plasma Thruster

Researchers at the ANU are working with European firm EADS-Astrium, the world’s largest aerospace and aeronautic company, and the Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom, to develop, build, and...

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Giant Magellan Telescope Integral-Field Spectrograph (GMTIFS)

An international consortium of research and technology organisations is working together to design and build the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), which will be the world's largest and most powerful telescope when it is completed...

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Greenhouse Gas Monitor

The Australian company ViPAC Engineers & Scientists Pty. Ltd. is leading a project to develop a space-based monitoring system to improve the measurement of greenhouse gases, funded by under the government's Australian Space...

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Laser tomography adaptive optics subsystem for GMT

The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) is being designed and built by an international consortium of institutions and will be the largest optical telescope in the world when it is completed around 2020. The GMT will rely on cutting...

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Recently completed projects

Antarctic Broadband program

The Antarctic Broadband program, led by Aerospace Concepts Pty Ltd, is developing a broadband satellite communications service aimed at meeting the data transfer needs of the entire Antarctic community. The project is supported...

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Gemini Near-Infrared Integral-Field Spectrometer (NIFS)

NIFS is a near-infrared integral-field spectrometer that was designed and built by the RSAA for the 8m Gemini North telescope in Hawaii. The first incarnation of the instrument was unfortunately lost in the January 2003 bushfires...

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Gemini South Adaptive Optics Imager (GSAOI)

The Gemini South Adaptive Optics Imager - known as GSAOI - is a $6.3 million, wide-field, infrared camera that was designed and manufactured by RSAA engineers and technicians for the Gemini South telescope in Chile. GSAOI is...

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RSAA Telescope Automation and Remote Observing System (TAROS)

TAROS is a remote observing software system that has been designed and implemented at RSAA. The system allows the ANU telescopes at a remote location to be operated automatically, or interactively with authenticated control via...

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SkyMapper camera

SkyMapper is a state-of-the-art automated wide-field survey telescope located at Siding Spring Observatory. Its mission is to robotically create the first comprehensive digital survey of the entire southern sky, providing a...

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Past projects

The following is a brief summary of previous technical and instrumentation projects that RSAA scientists and engineers have led.

  • Design and development of the UNIX-based Configurable Instrument Control and Data Acquisition (CICADA) system, incorporating general control of CCD and IR detector systems, graphing and imaging software tools, and processing and archiving of electronic data.

  • Manufacture of the large aspheric correcting plates for the revolutionary 2-degree field (2dF) instrument on the Anglo-Australian Telescope.
  • Construction of optical components for SHRIMP, the extremely sophisticated mass spectrometer sold by Australian Scientific Instruments.

  • Design and construction of facilities for the Automated Astrophysical Site Testing Observatory (AASTO), for remote, low power operation at the South Pole and Antarctic Plateau.

  • Design and manufacture of a Planetary Nebula Spectrograph for an Australian-Dutch consortium for use on telescopes at the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

  • Construction of an 8k x 8k (a mosaic of eight 4k x 2k CCDs) Wide-Field Imager (WFI) for the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO) and RSAA telescopes, including software control, and on-line data processing and archiving.

  • Refurbishment and computer control for the 50 inch MACHO telescope.

  • Provision of an infrared tip-tilt secondary mirror for the 2.3m telescope to compensate for atmospheric seeing.

  • Design and construction of the Cryogenic Array Spectrometer/Imager (CASPIR), an infrared (1 to 3 micron) imager and spectrograph for the 2.3m telescope.

  • Design and construction of an extremely efficient Dual-Beam Spectrograph (DBS) for the 2.3m telescope.

  • Design and construction of the ANU 2.3m alt-az telescope at Siding Spring Observatory (SSO).

Updated:  17 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  RSAA Director/Page Contact:  Webmaster