ULTRASPEC on the ESO 3.6m

ULTRASPEC saw first use on the ESO 3.6m telescope at La Silla where it was used as a high-speed, zero-noise detector on the EFOSC2 spectrograph. In fact, ULTRASPEC was the first time an EMCCD had been used to perform astronomical spectroscopy on a large-aperture telescope. The camera saw first light during 4 nights of technical time in 2006 December 1-4. There followed a 17-night science run on the ESO 3.6m telescope during the period 27 January - 12 February 2008, during which we also commissioned two new VPH grisms for EFOSC2 that we had procured for ESO. The links below provide information on the early design and construction of ULTRASPEC, as well as reports and photos of the commissioning run and subsequent science run.


  1. Annual report for 2004 presented at JRA3 meeting in Heidelberg
  2. Datasheet on the E2V CCD201-20 used in ULTRASPEC
  3. Annual report for 2005 presented at JRA3 meeting in Galway
  4. Photos of the new high-voltage clock board and E2V CCD201 in the ESO cryostat
  5. 16-June-2006: First light in the lab with the ESO cryostat!
  6. Functional and performance requirements for ULTRASPEC
  7. Technical note on EMCCD simulations
  8. Talk on high-speed spectroscopy at the Galway workshop on High Time Resolution Astrophysics 6-7 June 2006
  9. Paper on high-speed spectroscopy for the proceedings of the Galway workshop on High Time Resolution Astrophysics 6-7 June 2006
  10. Photos of EFOSC2 and the ESO 3.6m taken during July 2006
  11. Commissioning plan
  12. Simon Tulloch's EMCCD web pages
  13. Commissioning report for ESO
  14. Photos from ULTRASPEC commissioning run in Dec 2006
  15. Article for ESO Messenger
  16. ULTRASPEC paper presented at the HTRA conference The Universe at sub-second timescales, ROE, 11-13 September 2007
  17. Specifications for EFOSC2 VPH grisms procured for the ULTRASPEC run in January 2008
  18. Proposals, schedule and observing information for ULTRASPEC run in period 80
  19. ULTRASPEC handling and cooling procedures
  20. My report on VPH grisms for EFOSC2
  21. ESO's report on VPH grisms for EFOSC2
  22. Derek Ives' thesis on ULTRASPEC
  23. Simon Tulloch's thesis on QUCAM
  24. Richard Hickman's PhD thesis (Warwick)
  25. Some example science publications based on ULTRASPEC+ESO3.6m and ULTRASPEC+NTT data: