S. Nicholas Raines

Assistant Scientist

Department of Astronomy

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S.N. Raines
211 Bryant Space Science Center
Dept. of Astronommy
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611-2055, USA
phone: (352) 392-2052, ext. 244
raines at astro.ufl.edu

30 Doradus image from FLAMINGOS-2 Team, 2009 Sep 10

Area of Speciality

Cryogenic near-infrared (NIR) cameras and spectrographs, systems engineering interface between engineers and astronomers.

Research Interests

Novel and better techniques in NIR instrumentation, detector controllers, galactic star formation, Herbig-Haro objects and jets.


I am currently an Assistant Scientist (grant-funded, non-tenure-track faculty) in the Department of Astronomy at UF.

I received my PhD in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Rochester (Rochester, NY) under the supervision of Dan Watson, on a NIR study of the Herbig-Haro objects in GGD 37. While at Rochester I also worked extensively in Dan's lab on the characterization of far-infrared (λ=50-200 μm) filters and single-element detectors for potential use in NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.

From June 2000 through December 2002 I was a post-doctoral researcher at UF working with Prof. Richard Elston on his near-infrared (NIR) multi-object spectrograph (MOS), FLAMINGOS. During this period FLAMINGOS was a visiting instrument at the Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) 2.1-m and Mayall 4-m telescopes, the MMT Observatory, and the Gemini Observatory facility in Chile. I oversaw the packing, transport, unpacking, setup, and trouble shooting of FLAMINGOS at each of these locations. I wrote custom Perl scripts for observing with FLAMINGOS at each of these observatories. I also wrote manuals for using FLAMINGOS at each of these locations, and then assisted guest astronomers with the use of FLAMINGOS for their observations.

From 2002, when I was promoted to Assistant Scientist, through late 2009, I worked primarily on FLAMINGOS-2 (F2), the facility-class NIR MOS built by UF for Gemini Observatory, with Principal Investigators (PIs) Prof. Elston and Prof. Steve Eikenberry. F2 was delivered to Gemini in July 2009. Gemini has taken responsibility for F2, and is in the process of replacing the science detector and addressing other issues before entering F2 into science operations. I have visited La Serena, Chile, twice in 2010, to assist their engineers with F2. Gemini presently estimates that F2 will be ready to be recommissioned by January 2011.

While primarily occupied with F2 during this period, I was also involved in several other key projects. During 2004-2006 I assisted Prof. Eikenberry with the successful deployment of FISICA, the image slicer for use with FLAMINGOS. During 2007-2009 I was the UF PI on a $204,078 net award UCF-UF SRI grant for research and development of a detector controller system based on the Teledyne Scientific & Imaging SIDECAR ASIC (see TEBOW).

I am presently working with Prof. Eikenberry on aspects of several future instruments (FRIDA, CIRCE) for the Gran Telescopio Canarias.