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L H I R E S   I I I

update01_orange.gif Kits have been shipped and results are starting to be published.

graystripes_new.gifAssembling procedure has been completed by an adjusting procedure and a quick user guide.

For any question, contact Olivier (thizy@free.fr).

Spectroscopy is an extremely powerful tool for analyzing the light from celestial bodies. It provides information on the chemical composition, the physical conditions and even the internal motions inside stellar atmospheres. Professional astronomers have employed spectroscopic techniques for many years and today about 80% of all professional observations are carried out using spectroscopic methods of analysis in one way or another. However, with the notable exception of a few pioneers (see below) the studies performed by amateur astronomers in this field have been almost totally absent! In order to continue to pursue fruitful amateur-professional collaborations in astronomy, and to use the same tools as the professionals, we amateurs must therefore begin to adopt spectroscopic methods ourselves. The initial first steps in this direction have been taken by a few pioneering amateurs, but what is now required is an effective means of distributing these techniques and the basic skills and competencies already acquired.  This is the goal of the ambitious Lhires III project developed within the ARAS group and distributed through the French non-profit organisation, “l’Association AUDE

Christian Buil and André Rondi took the first key steps in attaining spectroscopic resolutions above R = 15,000 for amateurs, with the introduction of the LHIRES-type spectrograph. Based on this design, François Cochard has developed a limited-production version of the Lhires III Littrow-design. François validated many of the technical solutions possible in August 2005 during the first symposium dedicated to amateur astronomical spectroscopy at the Observatoire de Haute Provence, OHP.  The Lhires III spectrograph is a high performance instrument with a spectral resolving power up to 17,000. It was primarily designed for instruments with focal ratios in the range f/8-f/12. (For those amateurs with faster telescope systems outside this range, you should check beforehand that a Barlow lens will still give you enough mechanical back-focus - verify this before ordering a kit!). The Lhires III can be used with several types of CCD cameras (Audine, SBIG ST7/8, Starlight Xpress...) or Digital SLRs (e.g. Canon Digital Rebel, Nikon D100/D70...). High-Resolution stellar spectroscopy has now become a reality for amateur astronomers thanks to the Lhires III and will open the door for amateur contributions to studies of bright novae, non-radial pulsations within stars, binaries dancing around each other, evolving gas clouds around Be stars, and so on...

Subscription for the first kit has been a great success with more thqn 70 orders including several international. Parts have been ordered in February. Plan is to ship the kit around April.

But the Lhires III project will NOT stop there. Our objective is for the spectrograph to be used in a coordinated series of observations and to collaborate in new observing programs. A wide range of software tools & observational methods will also be developed based on this standard spectrograph. All within the friendly ARAS and AUDE group.
This web site should help you in assembling your spectrograph kit and to start your first observing sessions with your new Lhires III. It will also describe some examples of educational projects that can be performed with this type of spectrograph. Additionally, the ARAS web site will present you projects submitted by professional astronomers that can be contacted for future amateur-professional collaboration.




Beta Lyrae

P Cygni