A new spectrograph called the Keck Cosmic Web Imager (“KCWI)” is being developed by Caltech and the University of California for the W. M. Keck Observatory “Keck II” telescope atop Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii. This instrument is a wide-field integral-field spectrograph (IFS) optimized for precision sky limited spectroscopy of low surface brightness phenomena. Specifically, KCWI is being developed to observe faint glowing matter around and in-between galaxies. KCWI will feature high throughput and flexibility in field of view, spatial sampling, bandpass, and spectral resolution. It will also provide full wavelength coverage (0.35 to 1.05 µm) using optimized blue and red channels.. KCWI will provide a number of substantial benefits, including flexible image resolution and binning, flexible spectral resolution, excellent sky subtraction, and highest possible throughput optimized for both the blue and red ends of the visible wavelength range. Details of this project, and its scientific goals, can found at the following links: http://www.srl.caltech.edu/sal/spie_paper_number_7735_22_f.pdf; http://proceedings.spiedigitallibrary.org/proceeding.aspx?articleid=1362395. KCWI is planned for deployment in 2015.
Precision Optical has been selected to manufacture several of the optics for KCWI, including the FMD and FM3 large mirror elements. The FMD mirror is over 29 inches diagonal, and is one of the largest optics ever manufactured by Precision Optical. We are thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this effort, and we look forward to delivering extremely high-quality optical flats for this prestigious program.