2 August 2014 SAFARI new and improved: extending the capabilities of SPICA's imaging spectrometer
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Abstract
The Japanese SPace Infrared telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics, SPICA, aims to provide astronomers with a truly new window on the universe. With a large -3 meter class- cold -6K- telescope, the mission provides a unique low background environment optimally suited for highly sensitive instruments limited only by the cosmic background itself. SAFARI, the SpicA FAR infrared Instrument SAFARI, is a Fourier Transform imaging spectrometer designed to fully exploit this extremely low far infrared background environment. The SAFARI consortium, comprised of European and Canadian institutes, has established an instrument reference design based on a Mach-Zehnder interferometer stage with outputs directed to three extremely sensitive Transition Edge Sensor arrays covering the 35 to 210 μm domain. The baseline instrument provides R > 1000 spectroscopic imaging capabilities over a 2’ by 2’ field of view. A number of modifications to the instrument to extend its capabilities are under investigation. With the reference design SAFARI’s sensitivity for many objects is limited not only by the detector NEP but also by the level of broad band background radiation – the zodiacal light for the shorter wavelengths and satellite baffle structures for the longer wavelengths. Options to reduce this background are dedicated masks or dispersive elements which can be inserted in the optics as required. The resulting increase in sensitivity can directly enhance the prime science goals of SAFARI; with the expected enhanced sensitivity astronomers would be in a better position to study thousands of galaxies out to redshift 3 and even many hundreds out to redshifts of 5 or 6. Possibilities to increase the wavelength resolution, at least for the shorter wavelength bands, are investigated as this would significantly enhance SAFARI’s capabilities to study star and planet formation in our own galaxy.
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Peter Roelfsema, Martin Giard, Francisco Najarro, Kees Wafelbakker, Willem Jellema, Brian Jackson, Bruce Sibthorpe, Marc Audard, Yasuo Doi, Anna di Giorgio, Matthew Griffin, Frank Helmich, Inga Kamp, Franz Kerschbaum, Michael Meyer, David Naylor, Takashi Onaka, Albrecht Poglitch, Luigi Spinoglio, Floris van der Tak, Bart Vandenbussche, "SAFARI new and improved: extending the capabilities of SPICA's imaging spectrometer", Proc. SPIE 9143, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2014: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave, 91431K (2 August 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2056449; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2056449
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