Official operations starting on August 1st, 2012
After a quite short installation phase, which started on March 6th and ended on April 5th of 2012, the instrument has been further optimized in view of routine observations. The optimization regarded in particular the instrument control software and the user interfaces. The instrument is working nominally despite the fact that the detector dewar is still suffering from a leak which will be repaired in September 2012. Also, the environmental control has not yet been finalized because of the still remaining detector work. Therefore, one may expect instrumental drifts of a couple of m/s per night, in terms of radial velocity, during the initial phases of operations. By applying the simultaneous reference technique, however, the radial velocities delivered by the automatis data-reduction pipeline should not be affected by these drifts.
Despite the remaining issues, Guaranteed-Time Observations started in May 2012 and provided already scientific-quality measurement. Simultaneously, software optimization have been carried out to allow simple and reliable operation of HARPS-N. The start of open-time programs will take place in August 2012 with the start of the new observation semester at TNG.