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Paper: Airborne spectrograph for the thermal IR: Broadband Array Spectrograph System
Volume: 73, Airborne Astronomy Symposium on the Galactic Ecosystem: From Gas to Stars to Dust
Page: 551
Authors: Russell, Ray W.; Hackwell, John; Lynch, David; Mazuk, Ann
Abstract: Spectroscopic studies in the 'fingerprint' region of the thermal IR from 3 to 14 microns of celestial dust components and the overall energy distribution of the sources are best served by moderate spectral resolution (R = lambda/Delta lambda approximately 30 to 200), high sensitivity observations. Spectral purity and the reproducibility of the spectral shape are critical as well, when using the spectral shape to assign temperatures to dust grains or to gas clouds based on the wavelength and shape of molecular bands. These sensor attributes are also important to the use of wavelengths and ratios of solid state features to derive compositions of dust grains in celestial sources. The advent of high quality linear arrays of blocked impurity band (BIB) detectors of Si:As permitted the development of a state-of-the-art, patented, cooled prism spectrograph. Developed at The Aerospace Corporation largely with in-house funds, the Broadband Array Spectrograph System (BASS) has been used for a variety of remote sensing applications, but especially for IR astronomical studies on the Kuiper Airborne Observatory and at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF). The attributes of the spectrograph, specifically having the pupil imaged onto the 2 linear 58 element detector arrays so that the effects of guiding errors are minimized, being able to maximally exploit the limited observing time by acquiring all 116 spectral channels simultaneously, and having all spectral channels imaged through the same aperture so that spectral mapping is readily and reliably accomplished, afford the scientist with a unique opportunity to conduct both surveys of examples of many different types of sources as well as in-depth studies of a given class of object by thoroughly sampling the class members. This duality was demonstrated with the BASS through a combination of KAO flights where spectral maps were obtained as part of in-depth studies of specific source regions (such as Orion and W3) and flights where up to 21 legs/flight were used to survey many different sources of different types.
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