Instrument on the Kitt Peak 2.1m Telescope

Developed by Caltech Optical Observatories

After the significant success of the Robo-AO program on the Kitt Peak 84 inch telescope, a program which uses adaptive optics to take images of quality comparable to what is done in space, there is a new camera on the telescope. The Kitt Peak Electron Multiplying CCD (EMCCD) demonstrator (KPED), which is a simple instrument consisting of a EMCCD and a filter wheel, which will do rapid and sensitive photometric measurements of several classes of objects. EMCCDs use a high gain, or electron multiplication (EM) register, which is a second stage of readout that amplifies electrons in a process known as avalanche multiplication. At the cost of pixel charge capacity, much higher signal-to-noise ratios are possible above and beyond conventional CCD or CMOS detectors. The goal for the system is to allow for high cadence photometry with a large field of view with seeing-limited image quality.

The KPED team thanks the National Science Foundation and the National Optical Astronomical Observatory for making the Kitt Peak 2.1-m telescope available. We thank the observatory staff at Kitt Peak for their efforts to assist Robo-AO KP operations. The KPED team thanks the National Science Foundation, the National Optical Astronomical Observatory and the Murty family for support in the building and operation of KPED. In addition, they thank the CHIMERA project for use of the EMCCD.

Movie of KPED observations of 6.9 minute white dwarf binary (sped up)