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

Image of Flamingos-2 on the Gemini South telescope, 2009 Nov 08

The above photo shows FLAMINGOS-2 in November, 2009 mounted on the Gemini South telescope. It is mounted on on the right face of the large white cube (it has small round 'swiss cheese holes') in the middle of the image. The Dewar is mostly hidden by its associated blue ballast weight frame, blue electronics racks, and the small white electronics box.

Built under contract by UF for Gemini Observatory between 2002-2009, FLAMINGOS-2 is a fully cryogenic near–infrared (0.95–2.4 micron) multi–object spectrometer and wide field imager. It was delivered to Gemini in July 2009, and achieved its 'First Light' milestone in September 2009. It provides a 6.1 arcminute diameter circular field of view for imaging, and a 2-arcminute × 6-arcminute quasi-rectangular field of view for multi-object R(λ/(δλ)∼1300 spectroscopy. The Gemini Sciops Instruments FLAMINGOS-2 web page has more detailed information about the instrument, suitable for astronomers wishing to propose to use it for observations.

Designed by Professors Steve Eikenberry and Richard Elston, FLAMINGOS-2 was built at UF by Prof. Eikenberry and a team of more than 20 other personnel, including me, department professors, scientists, engineers (electrical, mechanical, software), and students. The on-instrument wavefront sensor subsystem was built by a team of six engineers at the Herzberg Institute for Astrophysics.

During the construction and testing of FLAMINGOS-2, my strong desire for it to be successfully completed led my role to evolve much more from an instrument scientist to more of a systems engineer. I attempted to keep an overview of the entire instrument within each of the engineering disciplines (Electrical, Mechanical, and Software). For example, for electrical engineering (EE), I assisted Kevin Hanna (Sr. EE) with the global wiring design at the systems-level cable map level, covering mechanism control, temperature monitor and control, as well as science detector control and readout schemes. Once these designs were completed I also was needed to fill in as an EE technician, with tasks such as making cable definitions and then fabricating, testing, labeling, and further documenting the cables.

I also worked extensively with Kevin Hanna on the science detector control electronics (called MCE-4), including testing the detector fanout board for saftey prior to installing the array ($300K value) and assisting with evaluation of the detector readout timing. I worked with him to characterize the noise performance of MCE-4 with and without the detector, from designing tests to acquiring and analyzing the data.

I was the primary compiler and editor of the FLAMINGOS-2 Service & Calibration Manual, and worked closely with Prof. Eikenberry on this contractually crucial document. More 35 procedures are described in great detail, from topics such as Electronics startup and shutdown, detector control, MOS wheel calibration, to how to open and close the instrument. It is >500 pages long, and contains >300 supporting photos I took of each procedure. Prof. Eikenberry and I had to learn together how to do each of these procedures in order to write the manual.


There are a number of SPIE proceedings describing FLAMINGOS-2 and its performance. Links to some of them on my Proceedings page are below:

2010, Eikenberry et al.

2008, Eikenberry, et al.

2008, Raines, et al.

2006, Eikenberry, et al.

2004, Eikenberry, et al.

2003, Elston, et al.