Elise was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii and graduated from Kalani High School in 2016. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Astrophysics at the University of Hawaii at Mnoa. In the future, she would like to do work related to the development and improvement of astronomy instrumentation. Elise is an active member of UHM’s Society of Women Engineers section and volunteers at K-12 STEM outreach events. In her free time she enjoys drawing, playing the bass guitar, and getting milk tea with her friends.

Home Island: Oahu

Institution when accepted: University of Hawaii at Mãnoa

Akamai Project: Creating a Focal Plane to Detector Interpolator for TMT’s WFOS

Project Site: Thirty Meter Telescope: WFOS – UC Santa Cruz, University of California Observatories

Mentors: Kyle Westfall, Renate Kupke

Project Abstract:

The Wide-Field Optical Spectrograph (WFOS) is a slit-mask spectrograph and one of two first-light instruments for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). WFOS is currently in the conceptual design phase, and the optical design is being refined using Zemax software. Adjustments to the optical design are frequent and tested against performance requirements defined by the science that WFOS will do. To assess whether these requirements are met, a simulation package is also being developed primarily in Python. However, developing an accurate simulation solely in Python would be inefficient and a direct interface between Zemax and Python is nontrivial due to Zemax software’s proprietary and complex attributes. Therefore, we are developing a WFOS-specific instrument simulator software tool in Python that minimizes dependency on Zemax and runs efficiently for calculations needed to design observations. The Zemax simulation yields focal plane-to-detector ray mapping files which I used to create an interpolator for the WFOS Python instrument simulator. The interpolator should predict where light rays from the focal plane will land on the detector accurate to 5 pixels or fewer whilst utilizing as little data as possible to minimize runtime. Working with WFOS collaborators in India who provided us with preliminary Zemax mapping files, I constructed interpolators with files of differing grid resolutions and compared the accuracy of points produced by these interpolators. The current version of the interpolator is accurate to the order of 5 pixels that takes in a 20×20×150 sized map file with a runtime of a few milliseconds for a single interpolation. As this is an essential part of the entire WFOS instrument simulator, when the entirety of the simulator is completed an astronomer will use it to efficiently plan observations with WFOS.