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Proceedings Paper

Upgrade of the SOFIA target acquisition and tracking cameras
Author(s): Jürgen Wolf; Manuel Wiedemann; Enrico Pfüller; Michael Lachenmann; Helen J. Hall; Hans-Peter Röser
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Paper Abstract

The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) uses three visible range CCD cameras with different optics for target acquisition and tracking. The Wide Field Imager (WFI with 68mm f/2.0 optics) and the Fine Field Imager (FFI with 254mm f/2.8 optics) are mounted on the telescope front ring and are therefore exposed to stratospheric conditions in flight. The Focal Plane Imager (FPI) receives visible light from the 2.5m Cassegrain/Nasmyth telescope via a dichroic tertiary mirror and is mounted inside the pressurized aircraft cabin at typically +20°C. An upgrade of these three imagers is currently in progress. The new FPI was integrated in February 2013 and is operating as SOFIA’s main tracking camera since then. The new FFI and WFI are planned to be integrated in summer of 2015. Andor iXonEM+ DU- 888 cameras will be used in all three imagers to significantly increase the sensitivity compared to the previous CCD sensors. This will allow for tracking on fainter stars, e.g. the new FPI can track on a 16mag star with an integration time of 2 sec. While the FPI uses a commercial off the shelf camera, the cameras for FFI and WFI are extensively modified to withstand the harsh stratospheric environment. The two front ring imagers will also receive new optics to improve the image quality and to provide a stable focus position throughout the temperature range that SOFIA operates in. In this paper we will report on the results of the new FPI and the status of the FFI/WFI upgrade work. This includes the selection and design of the new optics and the design and testing of a prototype camera for the stratosphere. We will also report on preparations to make the new FPI available for scientific measurements.

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 August 2014
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 9145, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes V, 91450W (4 August 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2057000
Show Author Affiliations
Jürgen Wolf, Deutsches SOFIA Institut, Univ. Stuttgart (Germany)
SOFIA Science Ctr., NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Manuel Wiedemann, Deutsches SOFIA Institut, Univ. Stuttgart (Germany)
SOFIA Science Ctr., NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Enrico Pfüller, Deutsches SOFIA Institut, Univ. Stuttgart (Germany)
SOFIA Science Ctr., NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Michael Lachenmann, Deutsches SOFIA Institut, Univ. Stuttgart (Germany)
SOFIA Science Ctr., NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Helen J. Hall, SOFIA / USRA (United States)
Hans-Peter Röser, Deutsches SOFIA Institut, Univ. Stuttgart (Germany)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9145:
Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes V
Larry M. Stepp; Roberto Gilmozzi; Helen J. Hall, Editor(s)

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