University of Florida

CIRCE Overview

CIRCE (Canarias InfraRed Camera Experiment) was conceived as a near-infrared (NIR) visitor instrument for the 10.4-meter Gran Telescopio Canarias. In addition to providing a low-cost NIR capability for the GTC user community prior to the arrival of the powerful NIR facility instrument EMIR, CIRCE also provides key capabilites that EMIR does not offer, making CIRCE an excellent long-term complement to the power of EMIR. These key capabilities include:

  • High-resolution (<0.3-arcsec) seeing-limited imaging
  • Narrow-band imaging
  • High time-resolution (<10 Hz) photometry
  • Linear Polarimetry
  • Low-resolution spectroscopy (coming soon!)

CIRCE has been particularly optimized to carry out high-speed imaging polarimetry, using a Wedged Double Wollaston (WeDoWo) prism. This allows CIRCE to probe rapidly-varying polarization features, such as those expected from the infrared jets in microquasars like GRS 1915+105.

CIRCE also has provided important training opportunities for future instrument builders, including 7 PhD students and a postdoctoral fellow.

Photo Credits:
Lynette CCredit: Gemini Observatory, artwork by ook