SPEXone is a compact five–angle spectropolarimeter that is being developed as a contributed payload for the NASA Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud and ocean Ecosystem (PACE) observatory, to be launched in 2022. SPEXone will provide accurate atmospheric aerosol characterization from space for climate research, as well as for light path correction in support of the main Ocean Color Instrument. SPEXone employs dual beam spectral polarization modulation, in which the state of linear polarization is encoded in a spectrum as a periodic variation of the intensity. This technique enables high polarimetric accuracies in operational environments, since it provides snapshot acquisition of both radiance and polarization without moving parts. This paper presents the polarimetric error analysis and budget for SPEXone in terms of polarimetric precision and polarimetric accuracy. We consider factors that contribute to instrumental polarization and modulation efficiency, which will be calibrated on-ground with high, but finite accuracy. The sensitivity to dynamic systematic effects in a space environment, such as degradation and ageing of components and small variations in the temperature and thermal gradients is addressed and quantified. Finally, the impact of scene dependent error sources, mainly resulting from stray light, are assessed and the total polarimetric error budget is presented. We show that SPEXone complies with the radiometric SNR requirement of 300, yielding a minimum polarimetric precision of 200 (fully polarized light) to 300 (unpolarized light) over the full spectral range for dark ocean scenes at high solar zenith angle. Assuming a stray light correction factor of 5 and considering a moderate contrast scene, the expected in-flight polarimetric accuracy of SPEXone is 1.5 · 10−3 for unpolarized scenes and 2.9 · 10−3 for highly polarized scenes, compliant with the polarimetric accuracy requirement. This performance should enable SPEXone to deliver the data quality that enables unprecedented aerosol characterization from space on the NASA PACE mission.
We have developed a generic physical modeling scheme for high resolution spectroscopy based on simple optical principles. This model predicts the position of centroids for a given set of spectral features with high accuracy. It considers off-plane grating equations and rotations of the different optical elements in order to properly account for tilts in the spectral lines and order curvature. In this way any astronomical spectrograph can be modeled and controlled without the need of commercial ray tracing software. The computations are based on direct ray tracing applying exact corrections to certain surfaces types. This allows us to compute the position on the detector of any spectral feature with high reliability. The parameters of this model, which describe the physical properties of the spectrograph, are continuously optimized to ensure the best possible fit to the observed spectral line positions. We present the physical modeling of CARMENES as a case study. We show that our results are in agreement with commercial ray tracing software. The model prediction matches the observations at a pixel size level, providing an efficient tool in the design, construction and data reduction of high resolution spectrographs.
Hanle echelle spectrograph (HESP) is a high resolution, bench mounted, fiber-fed spectrograph at visible wavelengths. The instrument was recently installed at the 2m Himalayan Chandra Telescope (HCT), located at Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO), Hanle at an altitude of 4500m. The telescope and the spectrograph are operated remotely from Bangalore,(∼ 3200km from Hanle), through a dedicated satellite link. HESP was designed and built by Kiwi Star Optics, Callaghan Innovation, New Zealand. The spectrograph has two spectral resolution modes (R=30000 and 60000). The low resolution mode uses a 100 micron fiber as a input slit and the high resolution mode is achieved using an image slicer. An R2 echelle grating, along with two cross dispersing prisms provide a continuous wavelength coverage between 350-1000nm. The spectrograph is enclosed in a thermally controlled environment and provides a stability of 200m/s during a night. A simultaneous thorium-argon calibration provides a radial velocity precision of 20m/s. Here, we present a design overview, performance and commissioning of the spectrograph.