Telescope Instruments: NIRES

Instrument: Near Infrared Echellette Spectrograph
Telescope: Keck II
Wavelength: near-infrared light
Instrument Scientist: Dr. Percy Gomez
Principal Investigators: Keith Matthews and Tom Soifer, Caltech
Description: NIRES uses spectroscopy to observe faint objects, brown dwarfs, high-redshift galaxies, and quasars.
Unique Feature: Unlike other instruments, this prism cross-dispersed spectrograph is able to cut spectra into a limited detector frame and place these dispersions perpendicular to each other, allowing observers to study different regions of the spectrum at one time.
Research Specialty: Observes dusty galaxies and galactic nuclei by gathering information about the temperature and velocity of a galactic nucleus to then approximate the mass of its black hole. NIRES also does not have to be taken off the telescope, so it is always ready to capture Targets of Opportunity, which are astronomical objects that suddenly appear such as supernova.
Notable Contributions: Helped discover the most distant radio-bright quasar known thus far and found the oldest and coldest known white dwarf with multiple dust rings.

“I am highly interested in understanding star formation in galaxies and NIRES has been very useful in collecting information about a galaxy’s distance and velocity to aid in my research.” ~ Dr. Percy Gomez

Mahalo: Support for this technology was generously provided by the Mt. Cuba Astronomical Foundation.