SALTICAM is a UV-Visible imaging and acquisition camera installed at SALT. It offers high time resolution imaging down to 0.05 seconds and has a field of view of nearly 10 arcmin in diameter. The camera consists of two CCDs with a total of 2048 x 4102 x 15 µm pixels, and it supports a wide range of filters spanning the wavelength range of 320 – 950 nm. Due to the variable pupil, the photometric accuracy is limited to 0.05 mag which can be reached by using dithering techniques.
SALTICAM has three available instrument modes: normal imaging, frame transfer, and slot mode. Normal imaging is the basic full-frame mode used for general imaging and also serves as the acquisition mode for spectroscopic observations. Frame transfer mode allows moderate time resolution and no dead time by rapidly shifting images between the top and bottom halves of the CCDs. Slot mode provides high time resolution with practically no dead time by advancing a mask over the entire detector except for a horizontal slot. Each mode is compatible with various binning settings and offers different minimum exposure times.
The camera has an eight-position filter magazine with filters available in Johnson-Cousins, Sloan, Strömgren, and other types. Fringing may occur in some filters, particularly for red narrow-band filters. Dithering is recommended to achieve the best photometric results over the field of view, and various dithering patterns can be selected.
While SALTICAM is equipped with an auto-guider, it has design limitations that limit its overall usefulness. The guide probes vignette a significant portion of the camera’s field of view, and the auto-guider is least effective for narrow-band filters. Therefore, the auto-guider is disabled during normal imaging, but it can be used during slot and frame transfer mode observations. Open-loop tracking is available for unguided exposures of up to 2 minutes, except for the bluest Strömgren filters.
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