FLAIR (Fibre-Linked Array-Image Reformatter) is the CCD multi-object fibre
spectroscopy system at the AAO's 1.2-metre United Kingdom Schmidt Telescope
(UKST). It allows astronomers to perform multi-object spectroscopy across
40 sq.deg field of view of the telescope via
~ 90 optical
connected at their output ends to a versatile intermediate-dispersion
spectrograph situated on the dome floor. The system provides a very
efficient and cost-effective means of gathering significant statistical
samples of moderately
faint objects (B < 18) distributed on the sky at 1 to 10 per sq.deg.
This is a region of magnitude/number-density space that is populated by a
wide range of astrophysically-significant object-classes. FLAIR has been
successfully used for large-scale redshift surveys, quasar surveys,
magellanic cloud studies and optical follow-up for radio, IRAS and ROSAT
sources. Carbon stars, flare stars and planetary nebulæ have also been
FLAIR is operated as a common-user facility by the Anglo-Australian Observatory, and observing time is awarded by the British and Australian subcommittees of the Schmidt Telescope Panel (STP). Allocated FLAIR time (currently up to 7 nights per lunation) is shared equally between the two countries. Foreign applicants can submit proposals to either panel (but not to both). Observers are expected to visit the telescope to assist with the observations though allocations of only 1 or perhaps two nights will usually be done in service. Visiting astronomers will also find themselves involved with many of the tasks required to operate FLAIR throughout their run (for example, fibre positioning). However, a friendly and well-informed Schmidt Telescope support astronomer will be working closely with them. A Sun workstation and the comprehensive IRAF data reduction system are available at the UKST to enable visitors to reduce their FLAIR data whilst at site. A FLAIR data reduction manual FLAIR data reduction with IRAF is also available.
This User Guide (part.1) is intended to introduce the new user to the system and provide comprehensive detail on FLAIR operations and use. The associated Technical Guide (part.2) contains more detailed information on the operation, maintenance and support of the system and is intended as a technical manual for FLAIR support astronomers and technical staff. Copies can be made available on request.
The CCD camera data acquisition system is fully described in the FLAIR CCD System User Guide (AAO Manual:TM 8.1) by A.P. Oates.