4 August 2014 Upgrade of the SOFIA target acquisition and tracking cameras
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The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) uses three visible range CCD cameras with different optics for target acquisition and tracking. The Wide Field Imager (WFI with 68mm f/2.0 optics) and the Fine Field Imager (FFI with 254mm f/2.8 optics) are mounted on the telescope front ring and are therefore exposed to stratospheric conditions in flight. The Focal Plane Imager (FPI) receives visible light from the 2.5m Cassegrain/Nasmyth telescope via a dichroic tertiary mirror and is mounted inside the pressurized aircraft cabin at typically +20°C. An upgrade of these three imagers is currently in progress. The new FPI was integrated in February 2013 and is operating as SOFIA’s main tracking camera since then. The new FFI and WFI are planned to be integrated in summer of 2015. Andor iXonEM+ DU- 888 cameras will be used in all three imagers to significantly increase the sensitivity compared to the previous CCD sensors. This will allow for tracking on fainter stars, e.g. the new FPI can track on a 16mag star with an integration time of 2 sec. While the FPI uses a commercial off the shelf camera, the cameras for FFI and WFI are extensively modified to withstand the harsh stratospheric environment. The two front ring imagers will also receive new optics to improve the image quality and to provide a stable focus position throughout the temperature range that SOFIA operates in. In this paper we will report on the results of the new FPI and the status of the FFI/WFI upgrade work. This includes the selection and design of the new optics and the design and testing of a prototype camera for the stratosphere. We will also report on preparations to make the new FPI available for scientific measurements.
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Jürgen Wolf, Jürgen Wolf, Manuel Wiedemann, Manuel Wiedemann, Enrico Pfüller, Enrico Pfüller, Michael Lachenmann, Michael Lachenmann, Helen J. Hall, Helen J. Hall, Hans-Peter Röser, Hans-Peter Röser, } "Upgrade of the SOFIA target acquisition and tracking cameras", Proc. SPIE 9145, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes V, 91450W (4 August 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2057000; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2057000

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