SIMON (for “Spectromètre Infrarouge de Montréal“) is a near-infrared (IR) multi-object spectrometer designed for use on the OMM’s 1.6 metre telescope and the Canada France Hawaii Telescope, funded by grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. SIMON employs a HgCdTe 1024×1024 detector sensitive to the 0.8 to 2.5 micron wavelength range and operates at cryogenic temperatures of about 80 degrees Kelvin, or -193 degrees Celsius.
SIMON offers both imaging and spectroscopic capabilities and can be adapted for use on various telescopes and configurations, including direct f/8 or adaptive optics (AO) foci. A unique feature is a separate focal plane cryostat for swift exchange of cold multi-object masks.
The instrument’s optical system provides excellent performance, with minimal geometrical distortion and high throughput, making it suitable for a range of scientific applications. SIMON offers two resolution modes: low and medium, with varying grisms and prisms to cover different spectral ranges and resolutions.
With its adaptability and potential for use with AO systems, SIMON is a valuable tool for a wide array of research endeavours. Science cases include studying low-mass stars, exploring star-forming regions, analysing star clusters in galaxies, investigating active galactic nuclei (AGNs), distant galaxy clusters, quasars, and gravitational lenses, among other astronomical phenomena.