Engineers Daniel Garrido Cuadra and Mario Cáceres Cáceres, academics from the Mechanical Engineering Department of the University of La Serena, conducted a scientific internship at the Apache Point Observatory (APO) in the state of New Mexico, United States, as part of their activities in the QUIMAL project of the ULS, financed by CONICYT.
The QUIMAL project is carried out by the universities of La Serena (project leader), Chile, Católica, Antofagasta and Andrés Bello, and its director is Dr. Alexandre Roman Lopes, from the Department of Physics of the University of La Serena. . The project has the support of the outstanding institute for science, Carnegie, Washington, and with the collaboration of different North American universities that are members of the Astrophysical Research Consortium (ARC).
At the University of La Serena, the QUIMAL project is a multidisciplinary project that brings together mechanical, electronic, physical and astronomical engineers and actively participates in the departments of Physics and Mechanical Engineering, through its directors, Doctors Pedro Vega and Ricardo Castillo , respectively. The goal of the QUIMAL project is to promote Chilean participation in the most ambitious astronomical project of recent decades, known as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which aims to study the local and distant universe in various spectral ranges (from the optical to the the near infrared).
The purpose of the trip was to know and deepen infrastructure, equipment, instrumentation and perspectives of improvement of the designs related to the study of the Southern Hemisphere galaxies, to obtain a better understanding of the numerous sub-systems that will be replicated and adapted for the APOGEE-S project, to be installed in the du Pont telescope, located at the Las Campanas Observatory (LCO), Coquimbo Region, Chile. This initiative will be replicated in dependencies of the Department of Mechanical Engineering through the creation of an Astro-Engineering Laboratory, as support for the construction of instrumentation for astronomical research and training of astronomers in the use of interchangeable optical fiber cartridges for the APOGEE2 spectrograph , to be used in the project.
The engineers of the University continue contributing with the redesign of the optical fiber instrument for the du Pont telescope, introducing carbon fiber technology in their designs, obtaining multiple benefits.