FORCAST Science Instrument Team and Abstract

Name of Instrument
FORCAST - Faint Object InfrRed CAmera for the SOFIA Telescope

Instrument type
Mid IR Camera
5–40 microns
R = 100–300

Principal Investigator
Dr. Terry Herter
Center for Radiophysics & Space Research
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853

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Scientific/Technical Abstract:

FORCAST is a facility-class, mid/far-infrared camera for SOFIA. The instrument has a short wavelength camera (SWC) that operates from ~5–25 µm and a long wavelength camera (LWC) that operates from 25–40 µm, with several filters available in both cameras. The cameras can be used individually over the whole wavelength range, or together for simultaneous imaging of the same field of view (FOV) but with restricted wavelength coverage in the SWC of 10–25 µm. Using 256x256 Si:As and Si:Sb blocked-impurity-band detector arrays to provide high-sensitivity wide-field imaging, FORCAST samples at 0.75 arcsec/pixel giving a 3.2 arcmin x 3.2 arcmin instantaneous field-of-view. Diffraction limited imaging for λ > 15 µm is expected during full operations. The current filter set includes filters centered at 5.4, 6.4, 6.6, 7.7, 8.6, 11.1, 11.3, 19.7, 24.2, 31.5, 33.6, 34.8, and 37.1 µm. For sufficiently small objects, chopping can be performed on the array. The FORCAST instrument uses mature, low-risk technology ensuring high reliability.

The science projects planned by the investigator team include multicolor imaging of the galactic center, Vega-like dust clouds, and star formation in normal spiral galaxies and active galaxies. This instrument will be of great value to the SOFIA community for imaging protostellar environments, young star clusters, molecular clouds, and galaxies. Multicolor information allows determination of dust temperatures, dust optical depths (and dust masses), dust composition, location of ionizing sources, and the spatial morphology of star forming regions.

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

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