SINFONI News


  • 2 June 2014: grating wheel speeds have been lowered: the normal speed is 14 encoders/ms, and the fine speed is 5 enc/ms. A grating change between the 2 most separated gratings (J and H+K) will now take 3.7 minutes.
  • 13 April 2014: grating wheel is back to normal functionality, albeit with reduced speed.
  • 3 April 2014: SINFONI is experiencing problems with the grating wheel. As a result only one grating position is allowed per day, set during daytime.
  • 5 March 2014: SINFONI may undergo an upgrade during Period 96 -- at the same time as the installation of the Deformable Secondary Mirror -- to replace the  H+K grating by a high-resolution one, to replace the detector, and to modify its fore-optics, in prevision of its later insertion into ERIS.
  • 27 February 2014: New version of manual (v94.0) uploaded. To be used for period 94.
  • 9 January 2013: New version of manual (v93.2) uploaded. To be used for Phase 2 preparation.
  • 2 October, 2013: New version of manual (v93.1) uploaded.
  • 28 September, 2013: Additional information on the new pupil tracking mode is available in this document. (Note added later: this is superceeded by information in subsequent versions of the User Manual).
  • 21 September, 2013: SINFONI recommissioning was successful. All filter/grating combinations and observing modes are again available. Calibration database is being repopulated. Dark exposures and linearity tests are resumed.
  • 17 September, 2013: SINFONI intervention was successful. Four motors were replaced (grating, filter, pre-optics and sky-spider). The coating of the 25mas pre-optics lens was discovered to be degraded (likely during warm up) and this was successfully polished off. The detector is displaced 5 pixels compared to before (slit positions are shifted 5 pixels in the positive x-direction.)
  • 2 September, 2013: A new Pupil-Tracking mode will be offered in Period 93, enabling the Spectrocopic Angular Diffrential Imaging (S-ADI) technique to be used for certain targets. Please see the SINFONI Manual for more details.
  • 1 September, 2013: SINFONI intervention underway. Instrument will be back online in the second half of September.
  • 24 July, 2013: Filter wheel is still stuck in K. Due to the delicate state of the filter wheel and the substantial risk of getting it stuck while moving it (thus rendering the instrument inoperable), the Instrument Operation Team has decided to keep SINFONI in K until 12 August, afterwhich we will attempt to move it to H+K. Intervention is scheduled in the beginning of September during the M1 recoating. We apologise for any invonvenience caused.
  • 10 June, 2013: Filter wheel is still stuck in K, and the aforementioned shift in wavelength is still happening.
  • 12 May, 2013: The grating has displaced slightly, resulting in a shift of 2-3 pixels in the dispersion direction compared to normal. Since the science and the arcs are taken with the same shift, the data can be calibrated.
  • 07 May, 2013: Filter wheel is stuck in K; the situation is being assessed.
  • 26 April, 2013: Filter wheel movement has been restored. Service mode observations are resumed.
  • 15 April, 2013: We are experiencing problems with filter wheel. Currently the only solution is to keep the filter in a fixed position under simulation mode. As a result darks exposures cannot be taken. Service observations are therefore suspended until this problem is fixed.
  • 2 April, 2013: LGS has a shutter problem and is not available until the problem is fixed.
  • 1 March, 2013: The new laser PARLA has been successfully commissioned and is now in operation with SINFONI, with LGS available on most nights. The on-sky power is about 6W.
  • 26 Feb, 2013: The strong noise pattern as reported in November 2012 is still occassionally seen. The pattern is not fixed in position, but moves around the detector, with a RMS > 10 ADUs. Observers should look out for this.
  • 20 Feb, 2013: The motors for the Grating and Filter wheels are failing. Intervention is expected in September 2013. In the meantime, in order to prolong the lives of the motors and minimise further damage, the speed of the motors have been drastically decreased, such that a grating/filter change will now take about 10 minutes. While it is still possible to change grating/filter during the night, the user is enouraged to stick to one grating/filter setting per night. Observers should adapt their observing strategies in light of this.
  • 29 November, 2012: Following troubleshooting by Instrumentation, the strong noise pattern has mainly gone. Service mode OBs with faint targets are put back into the queue.
  • 11 November, 2012: Noise pattern is seen in science and calibration data. This is being investigated. Until this problem is solved, for service mode observations preference will be given to bright targets.
  • September, 2012: The manual for period 91 is unchanged with respect to P89 and P90. An update of the manual will be expected by October 2012.
  • March 21 to May 3, 2012: Because of preparatory work for the installation of the Adaptive Optics Facility, Yepun is not available for operations. Observations with SINFONI are therefore not possible.
  • February 2012: The user manual is unchanged for P90 (with respect to P89).
  • August 2011: The user manual was updated for P89; in particular, details on detector persistence were added (please see section 2.6).
  • December 2010: With the start of P87 Phase 2, the new template 'SINFONI_ifs_cal_GenericOffset' has been made available, to allow efficient PSF observations
    in LGS-noTTS mode (Seeing Enhancer mode); via this template, PSF calibrations data can be taken within the same OB as the science data.
    Use of this template is restricted to LGS-noTTS mode observations.
    For more details please see the updated P87 version of the user manual, in particular section 12 (template description).
  • August 2010: A SPIE article (Mirny et al., 2010, SPIE Proceedings, Vol. 7737, p. 77371R) has been published to describe the improvements recently implemented in the SINFONI data reduction pipeline as already mentioned below (please see February 2010 news).
  • May 2010: For LGS mode operations, SINFONI has received a new STRAP head that should help to overcome the problem with the central obscuration of the old STRAP head experienced under very good seeing conditions (i.e., due to its narrow PSF, the TTS was lost in the central obscuration).
    Work is on-going to characterize the performance improvements of the new STRAP head; SINFONI LGS mode users, please check the instrument news as information will be provided as soon as it is available.
  • February 2010: An updated version of the SINFONI data reduction pipeline was released, featuring two significant improvements: (i) the implementation of a distortion and dispersion correction, and (ii) the implementation of a possibility to monitor instrument efficiency and stellar zero-points.
  • January 20, 2010: The user manual has seen some minor updates.
  • June 2008: Please refer to the Observatory News page for the latest update on LGS (un-)availability.
  • September 2007: The user manual has been updated to include: (i) new R-band magnitude limit of R=18 for the TTS brightness in LGS mode, and (ii) an update on the orientation of STRAP field selector.
  • April 2007: The official VLT Laser Guide Star Facility Policies have been released by Paranal Observatory Science Operations.
  • March 2006: The user manual for period 78 has been updated to reflect the availability of the Laser Guide Star and Rapid Response Modes.
  • January 2006: The user manual for period 77 is unchanged with respect to period 76. The page with frequently asked questions was updated with more hints to query the 2MASS and other catalogs from skycat. A direct link to the SINFONI data reduction pipeline as released in October 2005 was add to the tools.
  • July 2005: More informations for visiting astonomers about SINFONI data are available.
  • June 2005: Updated user manual for period 76 service and visitor mode observation runs and the P77 call for proposals. This version includes updated performance estimates of SPIFFI and SINFONI-AO.
  • April 2005: The page with frequently asked questions was updated with informations on how stacks of image cubes of very faint targets can be coadded accuractely.
  • April 2005: The data taken with SINFONI are now visible from the ESO Archive.
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