User's Guide to the Prime Focus Camera

Table of Contents

Hardware Overview
Software Overview
Detector Characteristics
Plate Scale and FOV
Count Rates
PFCam User Interfaces
Motor Control GUI
CCD Interface
Observing with PFCam
Starting the Software
Observing Hints
3-D representation
2-D representation
CCD diagrams
PFCam layout

Mt. Hamilton Homepage


The Prime Focus Camera (PFCam) is a fast, wide-field, direct imaging camera for the f/5.5 prime focus of the Lick Observatory Shane 3-m telescope on Mt. Hamilton.

PFCam is mounted on-axis above a prime focus field corrector and atmospheric dispersion compensator (ADC), which provide excellent PSF's across PFCam's full field of view.

PFCam's components, specifications, interfaces, and operation are detailed herein.

NOTICE: The Prime Focus Camera is decommissioned as of November 2012.

PFCam is a Lick Observatory facility instrument, available to the University of California astronomical community by subscription. Follow these links to:

Time allocation policy
3-meter observing time application forms

All new users must be checked out by a resident astronomer on their first night. Please request support on your time application.

Please direct questions to the Mount Hamilton support astronomers,

The picture of M27 is an RGB composite of two narrow-band exposures of 300-secs. each in H-alpha and SII, and a 60-secs. broad-band exposure at Rs. Courtesy of Marshall Perrin, UCB.