Thanks for sharing this Callum. I heard of this spectrograph a few years ago but didn’t know they were adding automation.
It is great that SX are entering this field though I didn’t see anything that tells me how well the spectrograph performs. The idea looks great, but they really need it in the hands of someone who knows how to produce good quality spectra to see how well it performs in the real world. It could be fantastic but they only showed the most simple of results, a bit like demonstrating a new telescope by taking single images of the Moon without proper processing.
I would want to know how stable is it on the back of a telescope in an imaging run. It appears the design should be very stable but theory and practice don’t always match. I also want to know what the resolution is as that defines what you could use it for, along with how that matches to CCD pixel size. Interesting that the camera can be shifted across the spectrum though I’d want to know how much of a spectrum you can fit in a single exposure, and how stable that movement is. It has to be absolutely rock solid, otherwise things like wavelength calibration and response correction needed to create good quality spectra would fail. If someone could obtain spectra of more challenging targets and do the full end to end process including response correction that would go a long way to demonstrating they have a high quality product.
I do not agree that they are coming in cheaper than their competitors. There are only a couple of modular spectrographs I can think of, most come as complete units. Of the modular spectrographs one is cheaper and the more expensive one is a top end spectrograph designed for large research telescopes. They appear to be coming it at about the same price or possibly more expensive than complete unit spectrographs. That is not to put their spectrograph down, just I did not agree with their comments on the price. This might not be a negative as they have automation, though they are not the only spectrograph with automation capability.
I don’t mean to be too negative as I think SX produce great CCDs and accessories, and I want this to be a great spectrograph. I am just hesitant as this is their first foray into spectroscopy and I’ve not seen any results that demonstrate the quality of the spectra it produces.