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HiPERCAM: a quintuple-beam, high-speed optical imager on the 10.4-m Gran Telescopio Canarias

Dhillon, V S and Bezawada, N and Black, M and Dixon, S D and Gamble, T and Gao, X and Henry, D M and Kerry, P and Littlefair, S P and Lunney, D W and Marsh, T R and Miller, C and Parsons, S G and Ashley, R P and Breedt, E and Brown, A and Dyer, M J and Green, M J and Pelisoli, I and Sahman, D I and Wild, J and Ives, D J and Mehrgan, L and Stegmeier, J and Dubbeldam, C M and Morris, T J and Osborn, J and Wilson, R W and Casares, J and Muñoz-Darias, T and Pallé, E and Rodríguez-Gil, P and Shahbaz, T and Torres, M A P and de Ugarte Postigo, A and Cabrera-Lavers, A and Corradi, R L M and Domínguez, R D and García-Alvarez, D (2021) 'HiPERCAM: a quintuple-beam, high-speed optical imager on the 10.4-m Gran Telescopio Canarias.', Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 507 (1). pp. 350-366.


HiPERCAM is a portable, quintuple-beam optical imager that saw first light on the 10.4-m Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) in 2018. The instrument uses re-imaging optics and four dichroic beamsplitters to record usgsrsiszs (320–1060 nm) images simultaneously on its five CCD cameras, each of 3.1-arcmin (diagonal) field of view. The detectors in HiPERCAM are frame-transfer devices cooled thermo-electrically to 183 K, thereby allowing both long-exposure, deep imaging of faint targets, as well as high-speed (over 1000 windowed frames per second) imaging of rapidly varying targets. A comparison-star pick-off system in the telescope focal plane increases the effective field of view to 6.7 arcmin for differential photometry. Combining HiPERCAM with the world’s largest optical telescope enables the detection of astronomical sources to gs ∼ 23 in 1 s and gs ∼ 28 in 1 h. In this paper, we describe the scientific motivation behind HiPERCAM, present its design, report on its measured performance, and outline some planned enhancements.

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Publisher statement:This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. ©: 2021 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Date accepted:20 July 2021
Date deposited:16 November 2021
Date of first online publication:26 July 2021
Date first made open access:16 November 2021

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