SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared
Astronomy, will be a 2.5 meter telescope operating in a 747SP aircraft.
One of the strongest attributes of SOFIA is its
large complement of state-of-the-art first generation instruments.
In this newsletter we give you a brief description of the present
complement of instruments and a status of their development. For
more information on SOFIA's first generation of instruments, please
visit our website at: http://sofia.arc.nasa.gov/Science/instruments/sci_instruments.html
Further information will be sent out when USRA announces the call
for second generation instrument proposals.
HAWC (PI Al Harper,
Univ. of Chicago):
The High-resolution Airborne Wideband Camera is a far- infrared
camera designed to cover the 40-300 micron spectral range at the
highest possible angular resolution. The optics consists of four
interchangeable sets of re-imaging lenses that enable optimized,
diffraction-limited imaging. This Facility class instrument contains
a 12x32 pixel array of bolometer detectors. The array will be cooled
by an adiabatic demagnetization refrigerator and operated at a temperature
of 0.2 K. With its spectral range and angular resolution, HAWC will
be used to study source energetics and morphology as well as the
physics and chemistry of interstellar clouds. Presently, the prototype
bolometer arrays are being tested and will be used this summer at
the CSO in Hawaii. The HAWC instrument should be ready shortly after
HAWC Homepage: http://astro.uchicago.edu/hawc/hawc.htm
|FLITECAM (PI Ian McLean, UCLA):
The First Light Infrared Test Experiment CAMera,
is a Facility class multi-purpose near-infrared camera designed to
test the image quality and thermal background of the SOFIA telescope.
The camera works in the 1 - 5.5 micron range. The instrument includes
a 1024 x 1024 InSb detector array, which produces an 8 arcmin field
of view. Grisms will allow low resolution spectroscopy with typical
resolving powers of R=2000. In addition to its role as a test camera,
FLITECAM will also produce images for public outreach and will be
used for surveys of star-formation regions and spectroscopic studies.
It can also be used concurrently with HIPO for planetary occultations.
The FLITECAM dewar has passed its airworthiness reviews and is presently
being machined. The 1024x1024 science grade array and electronics
are being tested in the UCLA lab. FLITECAM will be ready for observatory
testing in 2003.
FLITECAM Homepage: http://flitecam.astro.ucla.edu/
|FORCAST (PI Terry Herter, Univ. of Cornell):
The Faint Object infraRed CAmera for the Sofia
Telescope is a Facility class mid-infrared camera capable of imaging
in the 5-8, 17-25 and/or 25-40 micron range. Using the latest 256x256
Si:As and Si:Sb blocked-impurity-band detector array technology to
provide high-sensitivity wide-field imaging, this instrument will
sample at 0.75 arcsec/pixel giving a 3.2 arcmin x 3.2 arcmin instantaneous
field-of-view. FORCAST will provide the highest spatial resolution
possible from SOFIA and will primarily be used for studying protostellar
environments, young star clusters, molecular clouds and galaxies.
The science grade Si:As detector is being tested in the Cornell laboratory.
The Si:Sb science detector will be delivered this spring. FORCAST
will be available at or near first- light in 2004.
FORCAST Homepage: http://tnt.tn.cornell.edu/
|EXES (PI John Lacy, Univ. of Texas):
The Echelon Cross Echelle Spectrograph is
a 5-28.5 micron high resolution spectrograph. This PI instrument will
have a maximum resolution of 3km/s. It will also have lower resolution
modes of 30 km/s and 100km/s. The low-background 256x256 Si:As detector
was developed for use on SIRTF. The echelon grating has been manufactured,
and the detector array has been operated in another ground-based spectrometer.
EXES is expected to be ready for use on SOFIA at first light, but
its efficiency may be affected by the first light image stability.
EXES Homepage: http://nene.as.utexas.edu/exes/
|SAFIRE (PI Harvey Moseley, NASA-GSFC):
The Submillimeter And Far-InfraRed Experiment
is a versatile imaging Fabry-Perot spectrograph working in the range
of 100 to 655 microns. This PI instrument uses a state-of-the-art
transition edge bolometer array and operates at a spectral resolution
of 150 km/s. A small prototype array of bolometers has been tested
in Hawaii. The instrument should be available on SOFIA several years
after first light.
SAFIRE Homepage: http://pioneer.gsfc.nasa.gov/public/safire/
(PI Rolf Guesten, MPIfR):
The German REceiver for Astronomy at THz
frequencies is a dual channel heterodyne PI instrument with high
spectral resolution in the 63 to 188 micron (1.6 to 4.7 THz) region.
The spectral resolution is < 0.3 km/s. The instrument will be able
to make unique studies of a number of astrophysically important
lines such as [CII] at 158 microns, [OI] at 63 microns, and HD at
112 microns. The instrument should be ready near first light in
|CASIMIR (PI Jonas Zmuidzinas, Caltech):
The Caltech Airborne Submillimeter Interstellar
Medium Investigations Receiver is a submillimeter and far-infrared
heterodyne spectrometer. This PI class instrument works in the wavelength
range from 150 to 600 microns (500-2000 GHz) and will have extremely
high spectral resolution of > 0.3 km/sec. The SIS mixers using NbTiN
superconductors have been tested in the Cal-Tech lab. Their sensitivity
on SOFIA, for most lines, will be 200 times higher than the spacecraft
SWAS, or the SOFIA predecessor, KAO. CASIMIR is expected to be available
as a PI instrument just after SOFIA's first light in late 2004.
CASIMIR Homepage: http://www.submm.caltech.edu/sofia/
|FIFI-LS (PI Albrecht Poglitsch, MPE Garching):
The Far-Infrared Field Imaging Line Spectrometer
is a German PI class integral field unit spectrometer. The spectral
resolution is 150-300 km/sec. It operates in the 42 to 210 micron
region with two wavelength channels and two separate array detectors.
The field of view of the short wavelength channel (42-110 microns)
is 30"x30" with 6" pixels and the long wavelength channel (110-210
microns) is 60"x 60" with 12" pixels. The principle science driver
is studies of the interstellar medium in our galaxy and other galaxies,
especially ultra-luminous infrared galaxies. The long wavelength stressed
Ga:Ge detector array is presently being tested. The grating mechanism
has been prototyped. FIFI-LS with only its long-wavelength channel
will be ready to fly on SOFIA at first light.
FIFI-LS Homepage: http://FIFILS.mpe-garching.mpg.de/
(PI Ted Dunham, Lowell Observatory):
The High-speed Imaging Photometer for Occultations
is a special-purpose science instrument that will provide simultaneous
high-speed time resolved imaging photometry at two optical wavelength
channels 0.3-0.6 microns and 0.4-1.1 microns. The instrument's detectors
are silicon CCDs with a 1Kx1K format and 1 arsecond pixels providing
a 5.6 arcminute square field of view. HIPO will be able to be co-mounted
with the FLITECAM instrument and will also be used for critical
tests of the completed SOFIA Observatory. HIPO's main scientific
objective is observation of stellar occultations of planetary objects.
HIPO will be ready for observatory testing in 2003.
A Facility-class Instrument (FI) is a general
purpose, reliable and robust instrument that provides state-of-the-art
science performance at commissioning, through the use of modern,
but mature technologies. It is expected that this class of instruments
will routinely be operated and maintained by a designated USRA FI
scientist in support of General Investigators (GI's) who will not
be required to have extensive knowledge or experience in infrared
instrumentation or observing techniques. In the USRA peer review,
three facility class instruments were selected for development.**
A Principal Investigator-class Instrument (PI)
is a general purpose instrument that is developed and maintained
at the state-of-the-art throughout its useful operating life, by
the Principal Investigator. It can be used by the GI's in collaboration
with the PI's.
** One of the Facility Class instruments, AIRES,
has been cancelled due to cost overruns and a lack of additional
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