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Performance summaries for SOFIA science instruments
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Paper Abstract

SOFIA will permit observations from the visible to mm wavelengths, and offer higher spectral and spatial resolution than any other facility at some wavelengths. Nine focal-plane instruments are being developed to exploit this capability during the first several years of SOFIA operation. These instruments are being built at universities, at research institutes in Germany, and at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. The broad wavelength span of SOFIA implies a wide variety of Science Instrument characteristics, including detector technologies, spectral definition techniques, and science objectives. Here we summarize the performance of the nine instruments in relatively uniform format to facilitate evaluation of feasibility of desired observations. For each instrument, three basic aspects are described: (1) spectral resolution or passbands (2) sensitivity for emission lines and/or continuum (3) angular resolution. Spectral resolution ranges from several hundred km/s down to 0.01 km/s; some of the instruments have several modes spanning several orders of magnitude within this range. Sensitivities for continuum and for emission line integrated fluxes are given in Janskies and W/m2 respectively, for specified integration time and S/N. For reference some Pogson magnitudes are also given at short (visible, near-IR) wavelengths, and some antenna temperature values are also given at sub-mm wavelengths. Angular resolution is expressed as the FWHM beam size in seconds of arc, as a function of wavelength. With this compilation of basic performance, any researcher may estimate the feasibility of potential observations with any of the first generation instruments. The performance summaries are available online at the SOFIA web site:

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 March 2003
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 4857, Airborne Telescope Systems II, (3 March 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.458822
Show Author Affiliations
Allan W. Meyer, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Edwin F. Erickson, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4857:
Airborne Telescope Systems II
Ramsey K. Melugin; Hans-Peter Roeser, Editor(s)

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