Setting up TAURUS-2 at the WHT.


Regretably, the Isaac Newton Group at La Palma Observatory has decided to withdraw TAURUS-2 from general operation. There are several UK groups examining the prospect of reinstating TAURUS-2 as an externally supported instrument. Users might like to contact Johan Knapen at Herts. for more details.

This is a disastrous decision in the short term for Northern Hemisphere programmes. The future is not quite so bleak. The OSIRIS TTF/multislit spectrograph - to be commissioned on the GranTeCan 10m telescope in 2003 - will have better performance and reach to deeper levels.

Here is the call for interest.

Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1999 20:28:46 +0100 (BST)
From: Johan Knapen <>
X-Sender: knapen@uhsuf3
To: John Beckman <>, "C.Tadhunter" <>,,,,,,,,,,,
        Casiana Munoz Tunon <>
cc:, Joss Bland-Hawthorn <jbh@aao.GOV.AU>,
        Richard Bower <>,,,
Subject: taurus

Dear Colleagues,

I have seen several emails about TAURUS, and have spoken to some of you by
email or personally about it, but I thought it was about time to email
what our plans with TAURUS are at U Hertfordshire.

To fill those of you in who don't know the details: the La Palma TAURUS,
as offered on the WHT for the past decade, needs an overhaul, has been
de-commissioned, and is now offered to University groups in a bidding
exercise. Given our local interest here at Herts, we have been considering
this since a few months, but with the idea of getting other interested
parties within the same consortium bid, rather than have individual groups
bidding against each other.

The pro's are that TAURUS is a versatile machine, with two main modes, and
the possibility of incorporating LDSS capabilities. Fabry Perot spectral
imaging is mainly used for the study of kinematics of PNe and
galaxies through emission lines, and the TTF (TAURUS Tunable Filter)
allows basically to image through a 'filter' of random width at random
wavelength. These capabilities can now be fully explored thanks to e.g.
fast computers for the FP data reduction, and in our opinion TAURUS can
still be very competitive in its niche areas, even in an area of 8-m
telescopes. The big con is that TAURUS needs mechanical, optical and
software overhaul: I've heard an estimate of 100k pounds as total cost.

Timescale is that the bid must be at ING by 10 October, but if we are the
large consortium that I see emerging that should not be a hurdle. We must
then go out and get the money from our respective institutes, departments,
funding agencies, benevolent sponsors, etc. I have already some promises
for either money or manpower, and I'd be interested to hear more ideas.
Apart from cash, I think e.g. workshop time, software support, etc can all
be most welcome, as long as they fit into the upgrade timescales.

If all works, we will end up with a refreshed TAURUS which we can, as
consortium, then put back on the WHT as a private instrument, maybe in
2001. Judging by the ideas I've heard and seen so far we might apply for a
number of months of time in a given semester, and have TAURUS on for an
extended period, depending on how many nights the UK, NL and Spanish
committees decide to give the individual proposals. Note that there is no
guaranteed time, and that as a large consortium we will most probably not
want all names on each proposal. Also note that 'international' proposals
(i.e. no UK, NL, ES PI) can be submitted to either the Spanish or the
NL+UK committees, and may get time if they are competitive. All this
implies of course that individual groups may not get time in the end...

Filters: are not included in the bid simply because they are also used for
other instruments. We can put them back into the new TAURUS, but
individual groups, or the consortium, may want to buy new or replacement
filters. The TTFs should be shared with AAT, as they were in the recent

SO: please send me comments, broadcast to all or private, with any
thoughts on the above. As you can see I am not drafting a bid yet, just
trying to get us all together. I see it in the interest of all that we
collaborate on this, rather than compete. Do send this on to colleagues
who might be interested. If you think your institute may want to join, and
especially if you are not in the UK-NL-ES community, please indicate how
you see your contribution: e.g. financially, scientifically, or otherwise.

Best regards,


Johan H. Knapen                         Tel. +44-1707-285251
University of Hertfordshire             Fax  +44-1707-284644
Department of Physical Sciences
College Lane                            Email
Herts AL10 9AB
United Kingdom