Recently, with the help of postdoc Decker French we have been looking into the design of a new rapid-response spectrograph and imager. We lovingly call it R2S2I or the “Rapid Response Swope Spectrograph and Imager”.

The goal of R2S2I is to be the instrument of choice for rapid followup of transient events. The instrument has been designed as a followup based on lessons learned from both SED Machine (on the Palomar 60 inch) and FLOYDS (on the Las Cumbres Observatory 2 m).

R2S2I uses a wide-field and rapid-readout imager plus a slicer-based integral field unit. By using a slicer we’ll be able to classify thousands of transients per year down to r~20 on the 40-inch Henrietta Swope Telescope at Las Campanas Observatory. The spectrograph operates at a spectral resolution of 1,000: allowing to to both classify and perform some of the initial science.


As a result R2S2I will be able to participate in this golden age of rapid-response astronomy. In just a few years a whole slew of facilities including LSST, ASAS-SN, ZTF, TESS, etc. will revolution time-domain astrophysics with alerts issued on tens-of-seconds timescales.


Our long-term vision is to build not just one R2S2I but multiple. These could be fed by a small network of 1-m telescopes to play an important role in the long-term future of spectroscopic classification of transient events.

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