HERCULES is a fibre-fed echelle spectrograph which is used in conjuction with the Mt. John University Observatory 1m McLellan telescope. The spectrograph is mounted on a stable optical bench and enclosed within a vacuum vessel. The entire instrument will be situated in a thermally insulated room. The light is fed to the spectrograph along 20 metre lengths of optical fibre.
The spectrograph is designed to provide continuous wavelength coverage from lamda = 380nm to lamda = 880nm in 86 orders using a 50mm square CCD. Two resolving powers of R = 35000 and R = 70000 will be possible.
Under such conditions it is envisaged that this instrument will be able to provide high precision spectroscopic observations of a variety of objects over long periods of time.
- The HERCULES instrument manual.
- Template spectra for each CCD region.
- A Thorium-Argon atlas.
- 2000 November—installation of optics completed - Images.
- 2000 November 20—first CCD images obtained.
- 2001 February 12—HERCULES transported to MJUO and installed in an insulated room - Images.
- 2001 April 3 20—first light at Mt John.
- The HERCULES Reduction Software Package manual is now also online!
- A remote focuser for the CCD has now being installed.
- 2005 December— A new cryogenic CCD detector system has been received in Christchurch. The system has been made by Spectral Instuments Inc of Tucson, Arizona and incorporates Fairchild 486 back-illuminated CCD which comprises 4096x4096 15µm pixels. After commissionning, it is expected that this detector will principally be used with HERCULES. The 60mmx60mm format will sample the entire HERCULES focal plane at once.
A paper decribing HERCULES has been published in Experimental Astronomy, 13, 59-76 (2002).