Sphinx: a massively multiplexed fiber positioner for MSE

Scott Smedley, Gabriella Baker, Rebecca Brown, James Gilbert, Peter Gillingham, Will Saunders, Andrew Sheinis, Sudharshan Venkatesan, Lew Waller

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

12 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we present the Australian Astronomical Observatory's concept design for Sphinx - a fiber positioner with 4,332 "spines" on a 7.77mm pitch for CFHT's Mauna Kea Spectroscopic Explorer (MSE) Telescope. Based on the Echidna technology used with FMOS (on Subaru) and 4MOST (on VISTA), the next evolution of the tilting spine design delivers improved performance and superior allocation efficiency. Several prototypes have been constructed that demonstrate the suitability of the new design for MSE. Results of prototype testing are presented, along with an analysis of the impact of tilting spines on the overall survey efficiency. The Sphinx fiber positioner utilizes a novel metrology system for spine position feedback. The metrology design and the careful considerations required to achieve reliable, high accuracy measurements of all fibers in a realistic telescope environment are also presented.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGround-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VII
EditorsChristopher J. Evans, Luc Simard, Hideki Takami
Place of PublicationBellingham, Washington
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781510619586
ISBN (Print)9781510619579
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2018
EventGround-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VII 2018 - Austin, United States
Duration: 10 Jun 201814 Jun 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceGround-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VII 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • AAO
  • Echidna
  • Fiber positioner
  • instrumentation
  • MSE
  • multi-fiber
  • piezo actuator
  • spine


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