The overall efficiencies of SIS and MOS, in terms of optical throughput, are comparable.
The sensitivity of SIS was measured on M92 and NGC7006 standard star fields (Christian et al., 1985, P.A.S.P., 97, 363) observed under photometric conditions with the Lick2 CCD. We found the following transformation equations:
( being the airmass).
The same relations are valid for the Loral3 CCD; with the new thinned CCDs, a gain 2 in sensitivity is expected in V and R (and even more in blue), i.e. the zero points in magnitudes should be increased by roughly 0.75.
Even in bonnette guiding mode, the better sampling and better uniformity of the PSF across the field makes SIS a better choice than MOS for direct imaging, as long as you do not need a large field. But the sensitivity of the APD sensors makes it feasible to use active guiding in almost any field (see chapter 3 for a discussion).
The SIS active guiding loop has been demonstrated to improve the image quality of objects as measured on the CCD focal plane. For instance, a series of images of M92 were taken with the active guiding loop successively turned on and off. Un-stabilzed images were measured with a mean while images stabilized with the active guiding had a mean image quality improved to (figure 8.1).
The efficiency of SIS in spectroscopic mode has been measured on standard spectrophotometric stars (Oke J., 1974, Ap.J. Suppl., 27, 21; Stone R., 1977, Ap.J., 218, 767). The combined efficiency is about 11%at 5500 Å.
Figure 8.2 shows a typical sky spectrum obtained with the R300 grism and a slit 2" wide. The accuracy of the sky correction is on the order 0.2%r.m.s. of the sky intensity.