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20 October 2004Calibration of temperature and relative humidity sensors for use on the VLT-Interferometer
Knowledge of the dispersion due to (humid) air in the light path of the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) is crucial to obtaining good science data from MIDI, PRIMA and GENIE. To calculate the refraction due to air at infra red wavelengths in the ducts and delay line tunnel, the temperature and humidity has to be monitored during observations. To accomplish these measurements an easy to use and reliable system was assembled, based on commercially available components. In-house calibration of four humidity and temperature sensors of the system was done in Leiden. A test and calibration program was carried out to make sure that they work reliably and accurately and to determine the sensor characteristics. For this purpose a calibration box was designed which isolates the sensors from the environment so that there is no exchange of air with the outside environment. Using constant humidity salt solutions, the humidity in the box can be controlled. This allows the calibrations to be carried out for typical values of relative humidity and temperature at Cerro Paranal. Calibration of the sensors includes: 1. Reducing the systematic relative humidity differences between the sensors to less than 0.1 % and 2. Reducing the systematic temperature differences between the sensors to less than 0.01 K. In this paper we will present the outcome of the calibrations and the future of the sensors at Paranal.
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Simon Albrecht, Eric J. Bakker, Jeroen A. de Jong, Robert N. Tubbs, Jeffrey A. Meisner, Rudolf S. Le Poole, "Calibration of temperature and relative humidity sensors for use on the VLT-Interferometer," Proc. SPIE 5491, New Frontiers in Stellar Interferometry, (20 October 2004);