Current Status

The systems have been tested and characterized and are open for general use (proposals must go through the SAAO system).We are continuing to work on development of a plan for integrating the camera, GPS, and filter wheel software, as well as including telescope information in the data headers.

Old News

  • 2013: Postdoctoral associate Marissa Kotze has developed a SHOC data reduction pipeline

  • May 2013: MSc student Rocco Coppejans graduated from UCT -- his thesis project was to commission SHOC.

  • November 2012: SHOC characterization complete. The instruments have been mounted on the telescopes for 23 weeks within the past year and are being regularly scheduled for science use.

  • Dec 2011/Jan 2012: Week-long run on 40". Special thanks to Dave K. for giving up his time!

    October/November 2011: Week-long run on 30".

    October 2011: Second camera arrives! Have all component in hand.

    September 2011: Week-long run on 40".

    August 2011: Engineering time on 74" telescope.

    April. 2011: First light on the 40" telescope.

    Feb. 2011: Website launched!

The basics: SHOC consists of an Andor Ixon camera, control computer, and GPS (for accurately-triggered frames). Operation will be via fiber network to the warm rooms. We will have two complete systems (camera+computer+GPS) and a spare computer/GPS box.

For more details, click on Concept above and/or the MIT POETS website and the IRTF MORIS website.


This project is funded by the SAAO, DST (the Department of Science and Technology), and NRF (National Research Foundation) in the Republic of South Africa.

Above images:
(left) External view of the 20 inch telescope in Sutherland. Credit: Anthony Koeslag. (right) SHOC image of Saturn in R band from the 40 inch.


We have commissioned two instruments named SHOC (Sutherland High-speed Optical Cameras) for use on the 1.9-m, 1.0-m, and 0.75-m telescopes at the Sutherland site of the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO). These are high-speed, visible-wavelength systems mounted at the Cassegrain focus and below the existing filter wheel. The design is based on POETS (Portable Occultation, Eclipse, and Transit Systems; developed by a collaboration between groups at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Williams College) and the IRTF MORIS (MIT Optical Rapid Imaging System).


Latest News

SHOC has officially been handed over to the SAAO! Please contact them with inquiries.

The instrument is commissioned and a paper has been published:

R. Coppejans, A.A.S. Gulbis, M.M. Kotze, D.L. Coppejans, H.L. Worters, P.A. Woudt, H. Whittal, J. Cloete, and P. Fourie, Characterizing and Commissioning the Sutherland High-Speed Optical Cameras (SHOC), PASP, 125, 976-988, 2013.