FORCAST instrument

Faint Object infraRed CAmera for the SOFIA Telescope (FORCAST)

Facility class Science Instrument
Principal Investigator:
Terry Herter
Center for Radiophysics & Space Research, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

FORCAST is a dual-channel mid-infrared camera and spectrograph sensitive from 5 – 40 μm. Each channel consists of a 256x256 pixel array that yields a 3.4'x3.2' instantaneous field-of-view with 0.768'' pixels, after distortion correction. The Short Wave Camera (SWC) uses a Si:As blocked-impurity band (BIB) array optimized for λ < 25 μm, while the Long Wave Camera's (LWC) Si:Sb BIB array is optimized for λ > 25 μm. Observations can be made through either of the two channels individually or, by use of a dichroic mirror, with both channels simultaneously across the entire range. Spectroscopy is also possible using a suite of grisms, which provide coverage from 5 – 40 μm with a low spectral resolution of R = λ/Δλ ≈ 200.

Examples of FORCAST scientific observations and summary of specifications: FORCAST Flyer

Information applicable to the observing cycles can be found in their respective versions of the Observer's Handbook. Be sure that you are referencing the correct version of the handbook!

The FORCAST Guest Observer (GO) Data Handbook describes FORCAST data products, processing steps, calibration procedures, and known issues.

FORCAST Highlights as of 2020 provides an overview of FORCAST science.

Primary Reference

Use when citing SOFIA/FORCAST results.

"FORCAST: A Mid-Infrared Camera for SOFIA"
Herter, et al., 2018, JAI, 7, 1840005-451.
DOI: 10.1142/S2251171718400056; ADS Bibliographic Code: 2018JAI.....740005H

Additional References

"FORCAST: a first light facility instrument for SOFIA"
Adams et al., 2010, Proc. SPIE, 7735, 77351U.
DOI: 10.1117/12.857049 [pdf]

"Progress Report on FORCAST Grism Spectroscopy as a Future General Observer Instrument Mode on SOFIA"
Keller et al., 2010, ProcSPIE, 7735, 77356N
DOI: 10.1117/12.857127 [pdf]

"Quick-Look Reduction Software for FORCAST Grism Mode on SOFIA,"
Deen et al., 2010, Proc. SPIE, 7735, 773570.
DOI: 10.1117/12.856608

"A Silicon and KRS-5 Grism Suite for FORCAST on SOFIA,"
Deen et al., 2008, Proc. SPIE, 7014, 70142C.
DOI: 10.1117/12.788565 [pdf]

"Grism Performance for Mid-IR (5-40 micron) Spectroscopy"
Ennico et al., 2006, ProcSPIE, 6269, 62691Q.
DOI:10.1117/12.672256 [pdf]

"Testing of Mid-infrared Detector Arrays for FORCAST"
Adams et al., 2004, ProcSPIE, 5499, 442.
DOI: 10.1117/12.551490