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Paper: The VIMOS Mask Preparation Software
Volume: 238, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems X
Page: 455
Authors: Bottini, D.; Garilli, B.; Tresse, L.
Abstract: The main scientific characteristic of VIMOS (VIsible Multi Object Spectrograph, to be placed on ESO Very Large Telescope) is its high multiplexing capability, allowing astronomers to obtain up to 800 spectra per exposure. To fully exploit such a potential a dedicated tool, the VIMOS Mask Preparation Software (MPS), has been designed. The MPS provides the astronomer with tools for the selection of the objects to be spectroscopically observed, including interactive object selection, handling of curved slits, and an algorithm for automatic slit positioning that derives the most effective solution in terms of the number of objects selected per field. The slit positioning algorithm must take into account both the initial list of preferred objects, and the constraints imposed either by the instrument characteristics or by the requirement of having easily reduceable data. The number of possible slit combinations in a field is in any case very high (1073), and the task of slits maximization cannot be solved through a purely combinatorial approach. We have introduced an innovative approach, based on the analysis of the function (Number of slits)/(slit length) vs. (slit length). The algorithm has been fully tested with good results, and it will be distributed to the astronomical community for the observation preparation phase.
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