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Proceedings Paper

NIMBUS: the Near-infrared Multi-Band Ultraprecise Spectroimager for SOFIA
Author(s): Michael W. McElwain; Avi Mandell; Bruce Woodgate; David S. Spiegel; Nikku Madhusudhan; Edward Amatucci; Cullen Blake; Jason Budinoff; Adam Burgasser; Adam Burrows; Mark Clampin; Charlie Conroy; L. Drake Deming; Edward Dunham; Roger Foltz; Qian Gong; Heather Knutson; Theodore Muench; Ruth Murray-Clay; Hume Peabody; Bernard Rauscher; Stephen Rinehart; Geronimo Villanueva
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Paper Abstract

We present a new and innovative near-infrared multi-band ultraprecise spectroimager (NIMBUS) for SOFIA. This design is capable of characterizing a large sample of extrasolar planet atmospheres by measuring elemental and molecular abundances during primary transit and occultation. This wide-field spectroimager would also provide new insights into Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNO), Solar System occultations, brown dwarf atmospheres, carbon chemistry in globular clusters, chemical gradients in nearby galaxies, and galaxy photometric redshifts. NIMBUS would be the premier ultraprecise spectroimager by taking advantage of the SOFIA observatory and state of the art infrared technologies. This optical design splits the beam into eight separate spectral bandpasses, centered around key molecular bands from 1 to 4μm. Each spectral channel has a wide field of view for simultaneous observations of a reference star that can decorrelate time-variable atmospheric and optical assembly effects, allowing the instrument to achieve ultraprecise calibration for imaging and photometry for a wide variety of astrophysical sources. NIMBUS produces the same data products as a low-resolution integral field spectrograph over a large spectral bandpass, but this design obviates many of the problems that preclude high-precision measurements with traditional slit and integral field spectrographs. This instrument concept is currently not funded for development.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 September 2012
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 8446, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy IV, 84467B (24 September 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.927094
Show Author Affiliations
Michael W. McElwain, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Avi Mandell, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Bruce Woodgate, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
David S. Spiegel, Institute for Advanced Study (United States)
Nikku Madhusudhan, Yale Univ. (United States)
Edward Amatucci, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Cullen Blake, Princeton Univ. (United States)
Jason Budinoff, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Adam Burgasser, Univ. of California, San Diego (United States)
Adam Burrows, Princeton Univ. (United States)
Mark Clampin, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Charlie Conroy, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
L. Drake Deming, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Edward Dunham, Lowell Observatory (United States)
Roger Foltz, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Qian Gong, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Heather Knutson, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Theodore Muench, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Ruth Murray-Clay, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
Hume Peabody, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Bernard Rauscher, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Stephen Rinehart, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Geronimo Villanueva, Catholic Univ. of America (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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