The Infrared Side Port Imager ISPI (eye-spy) is a facility infrared camera at the CTIO Blanco 4-m telescope, serving a broad range of science programs through the following capabilities:
- 1-2.4 micron imaging with 2K x 2K HgCdTe HAWAII-2 array
- 0.3 arcsec/pixel sampling matched to f/8 IR image quality of ~0.6 arcsec
- 10.25 x 10.25 arcmin field of view,
- broad band J,H and Ks, as well as a set of narrow band filters.
ISPI is one component of a fixed instrument complement for future Blanco operations; the others are Prime Focus MOSAIC for optical imaging, and Hydra for multiobject optical spectroscopy. This fixed complement will lower operations costs on the Blanco as CTIO meets its committments for SOAR commissioning and operation, as well as Gemini operations support.
While ISPI's basic capabilities derive from its science mission, the project also faced realities of cost and schedule, space envelope at the 4-m Cass focus, and the future mix of instruments available to the community on the Blanco, SOAR, and Gemini South telescopes. The result is a conservative design which employs existing elements wherever possible (e.g. the optical design), uses a single large array, and has no spatial filtering (occulting masks) or spectroscopic capability. The ISPI project delivered a highly capable instrument quickly and at low cost. It complements future IR capability for high spatial resolution imaging and spectroscopy on SOAR and Gemini South, and a very-wide-field IR imager to be shared between the NOAO 4-m telescopes (NEWFIRM).