Astronomical Institute AS CR Academy of Sciences CR
Astronomical Institute,
Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
Stellar
Physics
Department

Operation and Development of the 2-m Telescope

The Ondřejov 2-m telescope is the largest optical instrument for stellar research in the Czech Republic. The telescope has been in operation since 1967 and has become a national instrument for astrophysical research. Since the maintenance and development of the telescope, dome and instruments (spectrographs) require a lot of work, a separate working group ("Operation and development of the 2-m telescope") was created to fulfill this task. Since the 2-m telescope is used exclusively for stellar spectroscopy, this working group is part of the Stellar department.

The working group is a team of technicians, mechanics, electricians and software engineers. It consists of non-scientific technical staff whose primary responsibility is to ensure the telescope functions. The group provides technical support and it maintains and further develops the telescope and its instruments (spectrographs). Members of the group also work as observers during each observational night. For safety reasons two people must be present at the telescope during the observation night: the astronomer (who operates the spectrograph) and the observer-technician, who is responsible for the telescope.

We successfully performed two major improvements of the telescopes in the last five years. In 2007, modernization of the driving electronics was performed. This included the replacement of the position sensors and the driving software. The original electronics that were unique and hence irreplaceable were replaced with standard commercial electronics. In 2009 all the telescope mirrors were recoated, which significantly improved the telescope performance.

The telescope is equipped with two spectrographs. The coudé spectrograph in the current configuration offers two cameras, namely the 400mm (low dispersion) camera with a 2720x512px CCD chip from 2008 (resolving power 7200 at the Hα region), and the 700mm (medium dispersion) camera with a 2000x800px SITe CCD chip from 1999 (resolving power 12600 at the Hα region). The new echelle spectrograph placed in the second coudé room is equipped with a 2048x2048 EEV chip. It has a resolving power 50000 and covers the spectral region 4000 Å – 7000 Å.

The telescope is regularly used for scientific observations. Most observations are performed by scientists from the Astronomical Institute (members of the working group Physics of Hot Stars), however, colleagues from other institutes and universities also use this equipment (Charles University Prague, Masaryk University Brno, University of Wrocław, Astronomical Institute Tatranská Lomnica). The telescope is also used in international spectroscopic campaigns, where more telescopes observe the same object. The 2-m telescope with its spectrographs also serves as an educational instrument for students from two major Czech universities (Faculty of mathematics and physics, Charles University Praha and Faculty of Science, Masaryk University Brno), and also for students from abroad (Faculty of Mathematics, University of Belgrade, Serbia).

All data obtained with the telescope spectrographs are automatically archived, and after the expiration of the proprietary period they are available to the broader community at the Czech Virtual Observatory.
Last update 19.09.2010