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Proceedings Paper

Spectral characterization of HST calibration lamps: new Pt/Cr-Ne line catalogues and aging test
Author(s): Florian Kerber; Michael R. Rosa; Craig J. Sansonetti; Joseph Reader; G. Nave; Paul Bristow; Mauro Fiorentino; Georg Lercher
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Paper Abstract

The Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility's (ST-ECF) lamp project, funded directly by the European Space Agency (ESA), is dedicated to the study of hollow cathode calibration lamps as they are used onboard the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). There are two main objectives: First, we have measured the spectra of Pt/Cr-Ne lamps in order to obtain accurate and reliable wavelengths for all emission lines between 115 and 320 nm. This wavelength range corresponds to the coverage provided by the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) Echelle modes. Extensive laboratory measurements were performed at the National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST) using their 10.7 m normal incidence spectrograph and a Fourier Transform Spectrograph. Until now no good laboratory wavelengths for Cr had been available and their addition has a major impact on the wavelength calibration, in particular in the near UV. The new line list is being used in conjunction with the physical instrument model of STIS which is employed to derive an improved wavelength calibration as part of the STIS Calibration Enhancement (STIS-CE) effort. Second, we attempt to gain a better understanding of the performance of such lamps and the physical processes involved in their long term operations. Among the issues studied are the change of the spectrum as a function of current, its change as a function of time and the tolerances of alignment. The bulk of the measurements were performed on flight spares from STIS and on new space qualified lamps for the accelerated aging test. The original flight lamps from the Faint Object Spectrograph (FOS) and the Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph (GHRS) are the only lamps ever to be measured after their return from space. Together with the spectra archived from six years of on-orbit operations they provide a unique data set for studying ageing effects in these lamps. The new Pt/Cr-Ne line list has been successfully applied in the STIS-CE effort. Thereby the ST-ECF's lamp project directly leads to an improvement in the quality of scientific observations of existing HST spectrographs. Our findings also constitute important lessons for the design and operations of future UV and optical spectrographs in space.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 October 2004
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 5488, UV and Gamma-Ray Space Telescope Systems, (11 October 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.550507
Show Author Affiliations
Florian Kerber, Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility (Germany)
Michael R. Rosa, Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility (Germany)
Craig J. Sansonetti, National Institute of Standards and Technology (United States)
Joseph Reader, National Institute of Standards and Technology (United States)
G. Nave, National Institute of Standards and Technology (United States)
Paul Bristow, Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility (Germany)
Mauro Fiorentino, Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility (Germany)
Georg Lercher, Sternwarte Max Valier Observatory (Italy)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5488:
UV and Gamma-Ray Space Telescope Systems
Guenther Hasinger; Martin J. L. Turner, Editor(s)

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