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CPAPIR - queue mode observations

Basic instrument characteristics

Field of view (OMM)30'x30'
Pixel scale (OMM)0.89"/pixel
Detector2048 x 2048 pixels, Hawaii II
Minimum integration time1.35 s
Integration time is always a multiple of 1.35 s
Overhead per exposure 5 s
Overhead per dither (<30") ~5-10 s
Overhead for slews of more than a few arcminutes ~30-45 s
Median Full Width at Half-Maximum (FWHM) at the OMM2.0"
Readout noise~10 electrons
Linearity imit~30 000 ADU per coadd
Gain~2.5 e-/ADU

Available filters

CPAPIR two filter wheels can only hold up to 10 filters. Filters will be changed depending on the semester's requests.

J1.25 μm0.16 μm
Paβ1.2814 μm0.012 μm
CH41.57 μm0.05 μm
H1.65 μm0.30 μm
CONT22.033 μm0.025 μm
HeI2.062 μm0.015 μm
CIV2.081 μm0.02 μm
H22.122 μm0.023 μm
Ks2.15 μm0.30 μm
Brackett γ2.165 μm0.02 μm
HeII2.192 μm0.04 μm
CONT12.255 μm0.10 μm

Getting started with your CPAPIR proposals

Here is the relevant information the you should include in your CPAPIR proposal:

Program length and target priority

The Observatoire du Mont Mégantic queue mode observation's main goal is to open the door to small project that cannot justify a long observing run over many nights. Proposal are therefore limited to a maximum of 4 hours of total integration time for priority targets. If you proposal includes more than one target, you should prioritize them. Proposals may include an unlimited number of best effort targets that will be observed if no priority target is left in the queue.

The required exposure time may be estimated from the values listed in the table below. As a rule-of-thumb, the limiting magnitude increases as 1.25×log(T) and decreases with the seeing as 2.5×log(FWHM). The 5σ limiting magnitude for observations taken under a 2.5" seeing and a total exposure time of 2 hours in J band will therefore be


This estimate has a 0.3 mag accuracy in J and 0.5-1.0 mag in H and Ks.

Filter5 σ sensitivity
Ks, outside temperature > 10C16.5
Ks, outside temperature < -5C18.0

Length of individual exposures

Please follow the exposure times suggested bellow. If you wish to use exposure times that differ significantly from the ones below, please contact us before submitting your proposal. It is not possible to read subarrays of CPAPIR's detector at a high cadence, this feature is only available on Hawaii-II RG arrays.

J band : 1 co-addition of 20 s
H band : 2 co-additions of 10 s
Ks band : 3 co-additions of 8 s
narrow bands : 1 co-addition of 60 s

As a general rule, the per co-addition median of your images should not be above 10 000 ADUs as you would loose significantly in dynamic range. If the background is above 30 000 ADUs per coadd, your dataset will probably be useless!

Image quality constraints

Observing conditions at the Observatoire du Mont Mégantic are typical of a continental site with a 2.0" median seeing measured with CPAPIR (including the instrumental PSF). If the angular resolution is important to meet your science goals, you may add as a constraint that the observation be done only under a seeing better than the 2.0". Of course, this constraint will decrease the likelihood that your observations be completed. The histogram of full width at half maximum values for the whole dataset of CPAPIR observations taken at the OMM is available here. The estimated FWHM without instrumental degradation assumes an instrumental contribution of 1.2".

Timing constraints

Queue mode observations allow time-constrained observations, but you must remember that this mode will only be available from 20 to 30% of the time at the OMM and that a good fraction of the nights are lost to clouds. Certain types of time-constrained observations are nevertheless well suited for this mode, such as exoplanet transit followups that have many timing windows through the semester. If you which to submit such a proposal, please submit an ascii table of the observing windows (UT time) with your proposal.

For other types of timing constraints, please contact us before submitting your proposal.

Dither pattern

You must specify the dither pattern for your observations. Your project most likely will fall within one of these four categories :

Photometry of a single source

If you wish to get the best photometric accuracy for a single point source (see this paper for example), the dither pattern will only be within a 30"x30" box. This strategy minimizes the effects of flat field illumination and may reach a photometric accuracy of a few milimagnitudes for bright targets.

Stellar field without extended source

If you observe a stellar field without any extended (>1') object, we will use a 5'×5' dither pattern. This pattern will give a uniform sensitivity through the field and good sky subtraction.

Extended object smaller than 15′

If your field has extended objects (more than 1' but less than 15'), we will use a dither pattern that moves the target in the four corners of the field. This strategy gives a good sky subtraction while always keeping the target within the field.

Extended object larger than 15′

If your target takes more than half the field of CPAPIR, sky frames off the field will have to be taken. In that case, the required exposure time will be doubled, and you must double the requested exposure time for your proposal.

Data reduction

The Université de Montréal LAE's team developped a data reduction pipeline for the analysis of CPAPIR datasets. In addition to your raw data, you will receive fully reduced data with astrometric and photometric calibration.
BrGamma M1

Photometric calibration

With CPAPIR's wide field of view, there will always be numerous 2MASS stars in every frame (50 at galactic poles, 15 000 toward the galactic center). The catalog can be used to derive a reasonably precise photometric calibration to the percent level of all datasets. Observations can be obtained under light clouds without having to observe a flux standard. This calibration is included in the CPAPIR data reduction pipeline. Note that the CPAPIR's J filter is significantly narrower than the 2MASS J filter and avoids the telluric absorption beyond 1.34 μm. CPAPIR uses a "Mauna Kea" (Jmko) J filter. For L and T dwarfs, this introduces a photometric bias relative to the 2MASS photometry, please read this paper for more details on this matter.


All paper using CPAPIR data must include the following note in the "Acknowledgement" section :

"Based on observations obtained with CPAPIR at the Observatoire du mont Mégantic, funded by the Université de Montréal, Université Laval, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Fond québécois de la recherche sur la Nature et les technologies (FQRNT) and the Canada Economic Development program."

CPAPIR publications

You need a few ideas for your CPAPIR proposal? Here are the publications that made use of CPAPIR data :
Walter et al., 2009, AIPC, 1094, 568WVery Low Mass Objects in Orion OB1a and b
Radigan et al., 2009, ApJ, 698, 405Discovery of the Widest Very Low Mass Field Binary
Faherty et al., 2009, AJ, 137, 1The Brown Dwarf Kinematics Project I. Proper Motions and Tangential Velocities for a Large Sample of Late-Type M, L, and T Dwarfs
Cushing et al., 2009, ApJ, 696, 9862MASS J06164006–6407194: THE FIRST OUTER HALO L SUBDWARF
Boudreault & Bailer-Jones, 2009, AIPC,1094, 904BA Constraint on brown dwarf formation via ejection: radial variation of the stellar and substellar mass function of the young open cluster IC 2391
Artigau et al., 2009, ApJ, 701,1534Photometric Variability of the T2.5 Brown Dwarf SIMP J013656.5+093347: Evidence for Evolving Weather Patterns
Artigau et al., 2009, AIPC, 1094, 493ASIMP: A Near-Infrared Proper Motion Survey
Chene & St-Louis, 2008, IAUS, 250, 139CThe First Determination of the Rotation Rates of Wolf-Rayet Stars
Artigau et al., 2007, ApJ,659L,49ADiscovery of the Widest Very Low Mass Binary
Artigau et al., 2006, ApJ, 651L, 57ADiscovery of the Brightest T Dwarf in the Northern Hemisphere
Demers et al., 2006, A&A, 456, 905DCarbon stars in the outer spheroid of NGC 6822
... we forgot your paper? Please send us an email!

A few pretty pictures by CPAPIR!

Eta Lion M1 M1 M1

Relevant links

CPAPIR observer's manual (password required)
OMM weather
The OMM clear sky clock
OMM's website (French)
Observers schedule

Questions? Feel free to contact us!

Étienne Artigau : (514 343 6834)
René Doyon : (514 343 6111 ext 3204)