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

Plate Scale and Field of View

Plate Scale

F. Marchis (UC-Berkeley) and J. Berthier (IMCCE) have kindly provided a plate solution for the new 4096 x 4096 CCD (installed January, 2006).

N.B., This solution was derived from an observation of NGC752 made with pixels binned 2 x 2, as is the typical practice for PFCam observing. Seeing was approximately 1.5 arcseconds.

Plate scale is 0.370 arcseconds per binned pixel, +/- 1 milli-arcsecond

With North up and East left, and the CCD binned 2 x 2, the plate constants are:

Orientation0.2614 degrees
X Scale0.3695 arcsec/pixel
Y Scale0.3707 arcsec/pixel

These constants may be added as WCS keywords to your PFCam FITS headers. Bear in mind, however, that the plate solution given here does not take all possible terms into account, or may change as a result of such factors as changes in the telescope's or instrument's optical alignment in the course of regular maintenance. However, it is good enough for many purposes and convenient when using FITS viewers such as DS9.

Field of View

The field of view for the entire array is about 12.6 arc-minutes, but some partial vignetting occurs near the edges when used with the standard 3" x 3" filters. The filter wheel can accommodate filters up to 4" x 4" to obtain the full, unvignetted field, but must be provided by the observer, along with its own filter holder. Contact a support astronmer for details of custom filters. (See Filters and Count Rates for specifics of PFCam filters.)

Any of Lick's large collection of 2" x 2" narrow-band filters can also be used with PFCam, but they reduce the useful field of view to about 6 arc-minutes.

Support Astronomers (
Last modified: Tue Mar 8 18:50:35 PST 2011