The Telescope

The 1.5-m telescope is an open tube Cassegrian on a single-arm equatorial mount. All Cassegrain instruments are mounted on an instrument rotator, and thus they may be placed at any position angle on the sky. RC-Spec and SIMON have been recent guest instruments on the 1.5, mounted a long with CHIRON

The Spectrometer

CHIRON is a highly stable fiber-fed cross-dispersed echelle spectrometer. Multiple slit modes allow for spectral resolutions of 130,000, 95,000, 80,000, and 25,000. CHIRON observes light in the wavelenght range of 440 - 880 n.m, and can observe targets as faint as about V = 12. An iodine cell can be placed in the optical path of the instrument if desired, making high-precision radial velocity measurements possible.

Although developed by the Fischer Exoplanet Group to find earth mass planets using the radial velocity method, CHIRON has been used for diverse science cases. Recently, CHIRON has been used to reveal stellar companions, provide time resolved spectra of cataclysmic novae and X-Ray binaries, and map the interstellar medium.

For full technical specifications and a guide to signal to noise calculations, an in-depth description of the instrument can be found here.

Request Observations


CHIRON Website

Once their projects have been granted observing time with CHIRON, users will be notified via email from the SMARTS staff of their log-in information for the CHIRON website. On the website, convenient tools are avaliable to help astronomers schedule thier observations. Although comparison lamp, bias, quartz, and dark frame calibrations are provided to each project at no further cost, users may schedule additional calibrations using their allocated time. A detailed instructional manual for using the website can be found here.


Instrument Capabilities

To make the most out of their allotment, CHIRON astronomers may wish to consult this paper by Andrei Tokovinin et al., which describes the instrument and telescope in great detail.

Your Data


CHIRON Website

Once an observation for your program has been completed and reduced, they will be avaliable for users to download via the CHIRON website. Here, the raw images, calibrations from relevant dates, and extracted spectra can be accessed.



CHIRON astronomers may request their data to be reduced, at no further cost. The extracted spectra are provided as a data cube in a fits file. A discussion of the reduction process can be found here. Please note that the extracted spectra are in the wavelength range 450-885nm, and are not sky-subtracted.