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FIFI-LS – A Field-Imaging Far-Infrared Line Spectrometer for SOFIA: Completion of the Instrument, Laboratory and In-flight Calibration and Characterization
241 Seiten, Dissertation Universität Stuttgart (2017), Softcover, A5
The Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is currently the only platform available for regular astronomic observations in the far-infrared spectrum. Observations in this spectral range are impossible from ground-based observatories, because the atmospheric water vapor absorbs this radiation. SOFIA is a Boeing 747SP aircraft carrying a telescope with a 2.7 m primary mirror in its aft section. The observatory cruises at altitudes of up to 14 km, which is above 99.8% of the water vapor in Earth’s atmosphere. SOFIA can carry one instrument at the telescope’s main focus on a single flight. Six instruments have been developed specifically for SOFIA, one of which is the Field-Imaging Far-Infrared Line Spectrometer (FIFI-LS).
FIFI-LS was initially developed at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics. The instrument was transferred to the Institute of Space Systems of the University of Stuttgart in 2011, in an unfinished state. In Stuttgart, several work packages had to be completed before the instrument was ready to fly on SOFIA.
This thesis concentrates on three central aspects that were essential for the completion and operation of the instrument:
1. The completion of the instrument control software
2. The optical alignment and characterization of the instrument
3. The optical calibration of the instrument in the laboratory
The results presented in this thesis were of major importance to the successful commissioning of the instrument at SOFIA. FIFI-LS became available to the science community with the conclusion of its commissioning flight series in March 2014 and became a fully accepted PI-class instrument in July 2015. The transformation of FIFI-LS into a facility science instrument was near completion at the time this thesis was finished.