Successful Commissioning for the HERMES Instrument!

Celebrating the successful first night of HERMES commissioning. (Credit: J. Heijmans)

The High Efficiency and Resolution Multi-Element Spectrograph (HERMES) had its first night of on sky observations 19 October, 2013. Designed for the 4m Anglo-Australian Telescope, HERMES works with the two-degree field (2dF) optical fibre positioner. Each fibre covers approximately 2 arcseconds on the sky and is automatically positioned by the 2dF robot. This allows researchers to observe up to 400 targets simultaneously in four different wavelength bands at a spectral resolution of ~28,000. With a high-resolution mask, the HERMES instrument can also achieve a spectral resolution of ~50,000 at 50% light loss.

First proposed in November 2007, the HERMES instrument's primary science project is the GALAH survey, which will use chemical tagging to reconstruct the evolution of our Milky Way galaxy. During this commissioning run, the AAO and GALAH team will test the instrument's hardware and software components. There are three planned commissioning runs, over which the team will be testing things such as fibre cross-talk, resolving power, and S/N efficiency.

For more on the HERMES instrument, please go here or here.