Hector: a new massively multiplexed IFU instrument for the Anglo-Australian Telescope

Julia J. Bryant*, Joss Bland-Hawthorn, Jon Lawrence, Scott Croom, David Brown, Sudharshan Venkatesan, Peter R. Gillingham, Ross Zhelem, Robert Content, Will Saunders, Nicholas F. Staszak, Jesse Van De Sande, Warrick Couch, Sergio Leon-Saval, Julia Tims, Richard McDermid, Adam Schaefer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Hector [1,2,3] will be the new massively-multiplexed integral field spectroscopy (IFS) instrument for the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) in Australia and the next main dark-time instrument for the observatory. Based on the success of the SAMI instrument, which is undertaking a 3400-galaxy survey, the integral field unit (IFU) imaging fibre bundle (hexabundle) technology under-pinning SAMI is being improved to a new innovative design for Hector. The distribution of hexabundle angular sizes is matched to the galaxy survey properties in order to image 90% of galaxies out to 2 effective radii. 50-100 of these IFU imaging bundles will be positioned by ' starbug' robots across a new 3-degree field corrector top end to be purpose-built for the AAT. Many thousand fibres will then be fed into new replicable spectrographs. Fundamentally new science will be achieved compared to existing instruments due to Hector's wider field of view (3 degrees), high positioning efficiency using starbugs, higher spectroscopic resolution (R=3000-5500 from 3727-7761Å, with a possible redder extension later) and large IFUs (up to 30 arcsec diameter with 61-217 fibre cores). A 100,000 galaxy IFS survey with Hector will decrypt how the accretion and merger history and large-scale environment made every galaxy different in its morphology and star formation history. The high resolution, particularly in the blue, will make Hector the only instrument to be able to measure higher-order kinematics for galaxies down to much lower velocity dispersion than in current large IFS galaxy surveys, opening up a wealth of new nearby galaxy science.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGround-Based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VI
EditorsChristopher J. Evans, Luc Simard, Hideki Takami
Place of PublicationBellingham, WA
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781510601956
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventGround-Based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VI - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 26 Jun 201630 Jun 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherGround-Based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VI
CountryUnited Kingdom


  • AAT
  • Fibre positioner
  • Hector
  • Hexabundles
  • IFS
  • IFU
  • Spectroscopy
  • Starbugs


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