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NaCo News

On this page, we list the main changes that affected the instrument and this web site.

  • September 16th, 2014: The recomissioning of NACO on UT1 scheduled earlier this month could not take place due to a failure of CONICA's detector.
    Recovering the detector requires a deeper intervention. We are very sorry about this unfortunate situation and all SM/VM runs planned for the end of P93 had to be canceled. While we hope to repair the detector and resume the commissioning as soon as possible, there is a significant risk for some P94 programs to be affected. More news will come by the end of the month.
  • August 27th, 2014: The P95 Call for Proposals is out. The P93 Calibration Plan and P94 User Manual remain valid for P95. NACO is offered in P94 pending a successful recommissioning on UT1 in September 2014.
  • February 28th, 2014: The P94 Call for Proposals is out and the P94 User Manual is available for downloads (including the templates/keywords table). The P93 Calibration Plan remains valid for P94. We again warn users that the move from UT4/NasB to UT1/NasA that will take place early September has a non-negligible risk of failure.
  • January 16th, 2014: NACO will be mounted on UT1/NasA in place of CRIRES towards the end of P93. Only a few programs have been scheduled in September 2014. The P93 Phase 2 User Manual is online. 
  • September 12th, 2013: The P93 Phase 1 User Manual and Calibration Plan (issue 1) are online. Please, beware of the changes of the offered observing modes (P93 is the right most column).
  • August 30th, 2013: NACO will be temporarily offered on the UT4 Nasmyth A focus during Period 93 - until the focus is necessary for AOF-related activities - with a limited list of offered modes. Please check the P93 Call for Proposals to be published on Monday September 2nd 2013.
  • June 28th, 2013: Offical Announcement; On account of the activities related to the installation of MUSE, NACO will be dismounted from the Nasmyth platform of UT4 and unavailable from 2 September 2013. NACO will therefore be unavailable for the whole duration of Period 92. The instrument will be stored for future re-use.
  • April 3rd, 2013: The first light paper of the AGPM coronagraph has just been accepted for publication in A&ALccepted for publication in A&AL (Mawet et al. 2013). For P91 the AGPM is offered in VM only via a setup change request.
  • March 1st, 2013: The PHASE-I version of the P92 User Manual is online (including the templates/keywords table). The P89 Calibration Plan (issue 4) is the latest to follow for P91-P92. The AGPM coronagraph section has been updated. For P91 it is offered to VM users who were awarded time for deep L'-band imaging with pupil tracking. They can request it via a setup change request prior to the start of their run. In P92 it will be offered in SM as well as we think all staff will be trained for it by then.
  • December 22th, 2012: The PHASE-II version of the P91 User Manual is online (now including the templates/keywords table). The P89 Calibration Plan (issue 4) is the latest to follow for P91. The AGPM coronagraph is now desscribed and will be (optionally) offered to users who were awarded time for deep L'-band imaging with pupil tracking. Please check for a new issue of the Manual around mid-February, it will contain more details about the AGPM.
  • December 12th, 2012: After a week of hard work, the IR-WFS is back!
  • December 5th, 2012: The IR-WFS is currently unavailable. News will be given shortly.
  • November 30th, 2012: An annular groove phase mask (AGPM)- commonly known as "vortex coronagraph" - was insterted inside CONICA . It is optimized for 4 microns (NB_3.74, NB_4.05 and L_prime filters only) and is currently beeing tested. We will try to make it available for P91 Phase II upon test results. The User Manual will then also be updated. The observing mode remains the same as LW Lyot coronagraphy, only we hope to improve the inner-working angle to ~1 lambda/D rather than 700 mas (C_0.7 mask) corresponding to ~7 lambda/D at 4 microns.
  • November 20th, 2012: The 6-week intervention carried out on CONICA was successful. A new cooling system has been installed (less vibrations and more reliability), all 4 detector quadrants are working, the non-common path aberrations have been calibrated and we resumed normal operations on November 16th 2012. More news and information to come.
  • September 6th, 2012: The P91 Call for Proposals is out and the PHASE-2 version of the P91 User Manual is available for downloads (including the templates/keywords table). The P89 Calibration Plan remains valid for P91.
  • September 5th, 2012: we are very much pleased to announce that NACO is fully back to operations, including with the IR-WFS and the LGS. We shall resume P89 normally.
  • Aug 25th, 2012: Due to a serious, partially recovered, issue with NACO's field selector electronics, the IR-WFS modes are currently unavailable. If you have service mode OBs originally using the IR-WFS but that can be done with the VIS-WFS, please notice our USD colleagues as soon as possible. Please check regurlarly this web page for updates as we are working hard to recover all NAOS modes at the earliest convenience.
  • August 8th, 2012: We recall the P90 users that NACO will not be available from October 1st to ~mid-November (6 weeks of intervention as stated in the P90 call for proposals). We will do our best to resume operations as quickly as possible but please take this information into account while preparing and submitting your PHASE-II material. You might also want to check the Late Breaking News in November.
  • May 25th, 2012: The PHASE 2 version of the P90 User Manual is online (including the templates/keywords table).
  • May 25th, 2012: The PHASE 2 version (issue 4) of the P89 Calibration Plan (valid for P89 and onwards) is online.
  • May 5th, 2012: The PHASE 2 version (issue 3) of the P89 Calibration Plan (valid for P89 and onwards) is online.
  • May 2nd, 2012: UT4 and NACO have been recommissioned after the 6-week ceasure (AOF work on UT4). The operations resumed normally (CONICA detector included) and the performances are ok.
  • March 26th, 2012: The CONICA detector issue (reported here on Feb 15th 2012) has disappeared or at least has diminished to an acceptable level of ~5 ADU RMS. Visually, one can see worst frames than others (every 20 or so). It is currently impossible to know in which state the detector will be when operations resume on May 3rd 2012. Please check this page or contact USD for your SM material. In the case your programme absolutely requires the use of all quadrants, it may be wise to prepare two distinct strategies in caseone of two quadrant are to become noisy again for your run or for part of P89.
  • March 21th - May 3rd, 2012: Because of preparatory work for the installation of the Adaptive Optics Facility, Yepun is not available for operations.
    Observations with HAWK-I/NACO/SINFONI are therefore not possible.
  • February 29th, 2012: The PHASE 2 version of the P89 Calibration Plan (valid for P89 and onwards) is online.
  • February 24th, 2012: The PHASE 1 version of the P90 User Manual is online (including the templates/keywords table). Note that the CONICA detector issue described below could unfortunately extend through P89 and possibly P90 (we do not know when we will be able to fix it). Please be prepared with a backup strategy if it affects your program(s).
  • February 15th, 2012: the NACO Instrument Operations Team regrets to inform you that the detector of CONICA is suffering from a strong electronic pattern affecting the two 512x512 upper quadrants (northern quadrants at a position angle of 0 deg). There are vertical stripes (image1,image2) every 8 columns featuring a RMS readout noise about a factor 3 higher than normal (~30 ADU peak to peak for these column using the Double_RdRstRd mode). The Paranal and Garching engineers and detector specialists have been working around the clock to solve this problem, but it appears that the repair will require a replacement of internal parts, which could take several weeks/months and therefore will affect the remaining P88 visitor mode runs as well as possibly some of the P89 runs .
    Please note that the affected quadrants are not blind, but the data quality will of course be compromised (see attached image and cut for a 2-second dark frame).
    If you judge that your program will suffer too much from this pattern, we advise you to reconsider your strategy to use the two bottom quadrants only (i.e. PA, offset pattern, use of mask(s), etc...).
    Do not hesitate to contact the instrument scientists (naco@eso.org) about your adapting your program. For current P88 service mode OBs, please contact the USD department (usd-help@eso.org).
  • December 20th, 2011: The PHASE-II version of the P89 User Manual is online (now including the template/keyword table). The P88 Calibration Plan is the latest to follow for P89.
  • October 15th, 2011 (beginning of P88): the NACO IOT is pleased to announce that the drift associated to pupil tracking is now fixed! NACO is therefore more suited for high contrast imaging and can be used with coronagraphic masks in the image plane (Lyot, 4QPM) without much issue (still VM only for P88-P89). The residual drift of about 1 pix/hour (very much acceptable) can be attributed to an imperfect flexure compensation model.
  • September 1st, 2011: as stated in the P89 call for proposals, UT4 (HAWK-I, NACO and SINFONI) will not be available in April 2012 as preparatory work required for the installation of the Adaptive Optics Facility (AOF) will take place in addition to the planned recoating of the M1. In addition, NACO is currently planned to be decommissioned at the end of P89 or early P90 (october 2012). Proposers for Large Programmes using NACO and/or ISAAC should take their limited availability into account.
  • August 31th, 2011: The PHASE-I version of the P89 User Manual is online (+ template/keywords table). The P88 Calibration Plan is the latest to follow for P89.
  • June 17th, 2011: The PHASE-II version of the P88 User Manual is online (+ template/keywordstable). The P88 Calibration Plan features minor fixes from P87's.
  • April 26th, 2011: all visible WFS (NGS/LGS 7x7, NGS 14x14,LGS 14x14) are back in service! The performance level reached duringrecommissioning is the same as prior to the intervention (on month ago).
  • March 8th, 2011: The PHASE-1 version of the P88 User Manual is online (+ template/keywordstable). The P87 Calibration Plan is the latest to follow for P88.
  • March 7th, 2011: new versions of the P87 User Manual (+ template/keywordstable) and P87 Calibration Plan are online.
  • March 6th, 2011: the 7x7 VIS-WFS (NGS and LGS) is currently not available and for probably a few weeks (please ask the instrument scientists for updates). Other WFS (14x14 VIS, 14x14 IR, 7x7 IR and 14x14 LGS) are available.
  • December 20th, 2010: A version of the P87 User Manual was online but not linked to this page, apologies.
  • March 15th, 2010: new modes are offered in P86 (see call for proposals). The web pages have been updated and the P86 user manual is now available (please check again in May for updated version).
  • Sept 12th, 2009:SAMPol and Seeing enhancer have been succesfully commissioned and are offered for P85. Cube imaging, alsoknown as lucky imaging is offered in SM for P85.
    Chopping is decommissioned from P85 onward.
  • Feb. 27th, 2009:SAMPol and Seeing enhancer are pending commissioning; as soon as this is over the relative information willbe updated on these web pages and on the manual. In the meantime,the last version of the P83 manual should be considered valid for P84 as well.
  • Nov. 15th, 2008: all the new modes of NaCo are offered in VM and have been succesfully proven on sky: SAM, pupil tracking, cube mode and SDI+4. The modes work well and some last minute improvements have been documented in the web pages. Users have to be aware that there has not yet been time to update the P2PP time calculator. The reported execution times are not correct, especially in the case of cube mode, which is actually much more efficient than normal observations. Visiting astronomers are encouraged to contact the night astronomer to discuss their observing strategies.
  • Oct. 5th, 2008:p82 starts. The new version of the p82 manual has been posted on the web. It is the same as the one offered for Phase1 of P83. The web pages have also been updated with more information on SAM, cube mode and pupil tracking. Interested users are encouraged tocheck the relative web pages on this site (under Instrument Description).
  • June 24th, 2008: p82 phase II officially starts. The new version of the p82 manual has been posted on the web. Among the news:
    1. SAM: the Mode has been successfully commissioned. We are working on the templates.

      Sparse aperture mask interferometry uses special aperture masks in the pupil wheel to obtain the very highest angular resolution at the diffraction limit. When used correctly, these masks transform the single 8-m telescope pupil into a sparse interferometer array, and it is therefore necessary to understand the principles of optical interferometry and in particular the recovery of complex Fourier data(amplitudes and phases) from the Fizeau interference patterns that result.

      SAM is offered in VM only. Users with approved proposals are encouraged to contact the IS at naco@eso.org in advance of theirrun to discuss the details.

    2. Cube mode - The mode is in advance stage of characterization.

      This mode is a variant of the of the burst mode already offered with VISIR and ISAAC. In this mode, a data-cube with each single DIT frame is saved. This mode is particularly interesting for lucky-imaging typeof observations, where one wants to select the best frames out of a set before co-adding them. The mode is not suited for time resolved applications, since we have no way to time-stamp each single DIT frame and we occasionally lose frames. There are stringent limitations to theuse of this mode, in particular it will only be offered in combination with basic imaging (no LGS).

      This mode is only offered for VM proposals. Users who requested it are encouraged to contact the IS at naco@eso.org inadvance of their run to discuss the details.

    3. Pupil tracking mode for imaging applications (includes 4QPM coronagraphy and SDI+) - Tentatively offered, pending commissioning. We are working on the implementation and preparing final on-sky tests.

      Pupil tracking mode is being implemented to support SAM, but given thedemand from the community, it will be tentatively offered for use withimaging and 4QPM coronagraphic observations. In this mode, thetelescope, independently from NaCo, tracks the pupil instead of the field.This new tracking mode opens the possibility to do Angular Differential Imaging (ADI),a high contrast imaging technique that reduces quasi-static speckle noise and facilitates the detection of nearby companions.

      Given its complexity and novelty, pupil tracking is onlyoffered in VM. Users with approved proposals are encouraged to contactthe IS at naco@eso.org in advance of their run to discuss the details.

    4. Chopping in Lp and Mp (imaging) will be offered again inP82'.There are more stringent limitations on the brightness of the AO starand on the size of the chop throw. Check the user's manual for details.
  • March 19th, 2008: a bug in the ETC caused off-axis S/N values to be systematically overestimated (that is, cases where the target and AO reference bjects differed). This bug only affected the imaging ETC as called via the NAOS Preparation Software (NAOS-PS). The bug has bee fixed.
  • February, 2008: News in the Call for Proposals P82. New modes tentatively offered (pending commissioning): cube mode in imaging (NGS only), Sparse Aperture Interferometric Masks, Pupil Tracking with imaging and coronagraphy.
  • December 22, 2007: new version of User's Manual and Web Pages for Phase 2 of P81 publicly released.
  • September 23-24, 2007: commissioned the SDI+4 mode: SDI+ with Coronagraphic 4QPM_H
  • August 24, 2007: News in the Call for Proposals P81
  • August 1, 2007; New IOT settles in.
  • April 03, 2007: Laser guide star facility: observing policies
  • March 15, 2007: Novelties in the Call for Proposal P80
  • February 28, 2006: Novelties in the Call for Proposal P78
  • February 23, 2006: Latest important news about chopping
  • February 16, 2006: Latest news about the SDI
  • June 1, 2005: Important last minute news for service and visitor, concerning the SDI observations.
  • January 6, 2005: Updated user manual for period 75 serviceand visitor mode observation runs.
  • October 21, 2004: Important news for service and visitor, concerning chopping & SDI observations.
  • August 8, 2004: Updated user manual for period 74 serviceand visitor mode observation runs.
  • June 1, 2004: A new Aladdin3 array recently installed in CONICA, becomes operational.


Old News

  • April 03, 2007: Laser guide star facility: observing policies
  • March 15, 2007: Novelties in the Call for Proposal P80
  • February 28, 2006: Novelties in the Call for Proposal P78
  • February 23, 2006: Latest important news about chopping
  • February 16, 2006: Latest news about the SDI
  • June 1, 2005: Important last minute news for service and visitor, concerning the SDI observations.
  • January 6, 2005: Updated user manual for period 75 service and visitor mode observation runs.
  • October 21, 2004: Important news for service and visitor, concerning chopping & SDI observations.
  • August 8, 2004: Updated user manual for period 74 service and visitor mode observation runs.
  • June 1, 2004: A new Aladdin3 array recently installed in CONICA, becomes operational.