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Proceedings Paper

Single-aperture far-infrared observatory (SAFIR)
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Paper Abstract

Development of large, far-infrared telescopes in space has taken on a new urgency with breakthroughs in detector technology and recognition of the fundamental importance of the far-infrared spectral region to cosmological questions as well as to understanding how our own Solar System came into being. SAFIR is 10m-class far-infrared observatory that would begin development later in this decade to meet these needs. Its operating temperature (T ≤ 4 K) and instrument complement would be optimized to reach the natural sky confusion limit in the far-infrared with diffraction-limited peformance down to at least the atmospheric cutoff, λ ⪆ 40 μm. This would provide a point source sensitivity improvement of several orders of magnitude over that of SIRTF. SAFIR's science goals are driven by the fact that youngest stages of almost all phenomena in the universe are shrouded in absorption by and emission from cool dust that emits strongly in the far-infrared, 20 μm - 1mm. The main drivers on the telescope are operating temperature and aperture. SAFIR can take advantage of much of the technology under development for NGST. Because of the much less stringent requirements on optical accuracy, however, SAFIR can be developed at substantially lower cost.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 March 2003
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 4850, IR Space Telescopes and Instruments, (5 March 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.461746
Show Author Affiliations
Paul M. Harvey, Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
George H. Rieke, Steward Observatory/Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Daniel F. Lester, Univ. of Texas at Austin (United States)
Dominic J. Benford, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4850:
IR Space Telescopes and Instruments
John C. Mather, Editor(s)

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