Alannah Shinde was raised on the Big Island of Hawai’i and graduated from Waiakea High School in 2020. She is currently going into her third year at the University of Hawaii at Hilo where she is pursing a degree in computer science with a minor in astronomy. In the future, Alannah is most interested in pursing data science as a means to combine her curiosity for the universe and her love for the collaborative nature of science. When not writing code she can be found writing for her school newspaper as the Associate Editor where she strives to develop a greater scientific dialogue within her community.
Home Island: Big Island of Hawai’i
High School: Waiakea High School
Institution when accepted: University of Hawaii at Hilo
Akamai Project: Measuring the Performance of Optical Fibers with Low Numerical Aperture for FOBOS
Project Site: University of California Observatories – Santa Cruz, CA
Mentor: Kyle Westfall
Led by the University of California Observatories, the Fiber-Optic Broadband Optical Spectrograph (FOBOS) is a new instrument in development for the W.M. Keck Observatory. FOBOS differentiates itself from Keck’s previous multi-object spectrographs by its use of optical fibers. Additionally, FOBOS’s fibers are unique in that they have a low numerical aperture (NA), a feature atypical of all other fiber-based spectrographs. Therefore, before the FOBOS team could confidently design prototypes of its fiber arrays, three main performance factors of the low-NA fibers needed to be tested and characterized. Specifically, we measured (1) the fraction of light that passes through the fiber; (2) the output focal ratio and illumination profile; and (3) the consistency of these properties over time. We built a Python program to measure and graphically visualize these properties for prototype FOBOS fibers using data collected at the Space Sciences Laboratory at UC Berkeley. We present our measurements and compare them to the performance requirements specified to meet FOBOS’s science goals of 95% total throughput at 650 nm and an output focal ratio of 4.5.