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Proceedings Paper

Observing conditions and mid-IR data quality
Author(s): Rachel Mason; Andre Wong; Tom Geballe; Kevin Volk; Tom Hayward; Matt Dillman; Scott Fisher; James Radomski
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Paper Abstract

Ground-based mid-infrared (mid-IR) observations appear to be widely perceived as esoteric and demanding, and very sensitive to observing conditions. Although the principles of observing in the background-limited regime are well-known, it is difficult for the non-specialist to find specific information on exactly how mid-IR data can be affected by environmental conditions. Understanding these effects is important for the efficiency of mid-IR queue observing, the ability of classical observers to adapt their programs to the prevailing conditions, and the standard of data being delivered. Through operating mid-IR instruments in the queue at Gemini we have amassed a considerable database of standard star observations taken under a wide range of atmospheric conditions and in a variety of instrumental configurations. These data can be used to illustrate the effect of factors such as water vapour column, airmass, cloud cover, etc. on observed quantities like raw sky background, residual background, atmospheric transmission and image FWHM. Here we present some preliminary results from this study, which we hope to be of use to observatory users and staff as a guide to which environmental conditions are truly important to mid- IR imaging observations, and which can safely be neglected.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 July 2008
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7016, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems II, 70161Y (12 July 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.789812
Show Author Affiliations
Rachel Mason, Gemini Observatory, Northern Operations Ctr. (United States)
Andre Wong, Gemini Observatory, Northern Operations Ctr. (United States)
Univ. of Virginia (United States)
Tom Geballe, Gemini Observatory, Northern Operations Ctr. (United States)
Kevin Volk, Gemini Observatory, Northern Operations Ctr. (United States)
Tom Hayward, Gemini Observatory, Southern Operations Ctr. (Chile)
Matt Dillman, Gemini Observatory, Northern Operations Ctr. (United States)
Scott Fisher, Gemini Observatory, Northern Operations Ctr. (United States)
James Radomski, Gemini Observatory, Southern Operations Ctr. (Chile)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7016:
Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems II
Roger J. Brissenden; David R. Silva, Editor(s)

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