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Proceedings Paper

The FORCAST mid-infrared facility instrument and in-flight performance on SOFIA
Author(s): Joseph D. Adams; Terry L. Herter; George E. Gull; Justin Schoenwald; Charles P Henderson; Luke D. Keller; James M. De Buizer; Gordon J. Stacey; Thomas Nikola; William D. Vacca; Lea Hirsch; Jason Wang; L. Andrew Helton
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Paper Abstract

FORCAST has completed 16 engineering and science flights as the “First Light” U. S. science instrument aboard SOFIA and will be commissioned as a SOFIA facility instrument in 2013. FORCAST offers dual channel imaging (diffractionlimited at wavelengths < 15 microns) using a 256 x 256 pixel Si:As blocked impurity band (BIB) detector at 5 - 28 microns and a 256 x 256 pixel Si:Sb BIB detector at 28 - 40 microns. FORCAST images a 3.4 arcmin × 3.2 arcmin fieldof- view on SOFIA with a rectified plate scale of 0.768 arcsec/pixel. In addition to imaging capability, FORCAST offers a facility mode for grism spectroscopy that will commence during SOFIA Cycle 1. The grism suite enables spectroscopy over nearly the entire FORCAST wavelength range at low resolution (~140 - 300). Optional cross-dispersers boost the spectroscopic resolution to ~1200 at 5 - 8 microns and ~800 at 9.8 – 13.7 microns. Here we describe the FORCAST instrument including observing modes for SOFIA Cycle 1. We also summarize in-flight results, including detector and optical performance, sensitivity performance, and calibration.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 September 2012
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 8446, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy IV, 844616 (24 September 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.926600
Show Author Affiliations
Joseph D. Adams, Cornell Univ. (United States)
Terry L. Herter, Cornell Univ. (United States)
George E. Gull, Cornell Univ. (United States)
Justin Schoenwald, Cornell Univ. (United States)
Charles P Henderson, Cornell Univ. (United States)
Luke D. Keller, Ithaca College (United States)
James M. De Buizer, USRA, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Gordon J. Stacey, Cornell Univ. (United States)
Thomas Nikola, Cornell Univ. (United States)
William D. Vacca, USRA, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Lea Hirsch, Cornell Univ. (United States)
Jason Wang, Cornell Univ. (United States)
L. Andrew Helton, USRA, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8446:
Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy IV
Ian S. McLean; Suzanne K. Ramsay; Hideki Takami, Editor(s)

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