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In-flight calibration of the Herschel-SPIRE instrument

In-flight calibration of the Herschel-SPIRE instrument

Publication date: 17 July 2010

Authors: Swinyard, B.M., et al.

Journal: Astronomy & Astrophysics
Volume: 518
Page: L4
Year: 2010

Copyright: ESO

SPIRE, the Spectral and Photometric Imaging REceiver, is the Herschel Space Observatory's submillimetre camera and spectrometer. It contains a three-band imaging photometer operating at 250, 350 and 500 mm, and an imaging Fourier-transform spectrometer (FTS) covering 194-671 mm (447-1550 GHz).

In this paper we describe the initial approach taken to the absolute calibration of the SPIRE instrument using a combination of the emission from the Herschel telescope itself and the modelled continuum emission from solar system objects and other astronomical targets. We present the photometric, spectroscopic and spatial accuracy that is obtainable in data processed through the "standard" pipelines.

The overall photometric accuracy at this stage of the mission is estimated as 15% for the photometer and between 15 and 50% for the spectrometer. However, there remain issues with the photometric accuracy of the spectra of low flux sources in the longest wavelength part of the SPIRE spectrometer band.

The spectrometer wavelength accuracy is determined to be better than 1/10th of the line FWHM. The astrometric accuracy in SPIRE maps is found to be 2 arcsec when the latest calibration data are used.

The photometric calibration of the SPIRE instrument is currently determined by a combination of uncertainties in the model spectra of the astronomical standards and the data processing methods employed for map and spectrum calibration.

Improvements in processing techniques and a better understanding of the instrument performance will lead to the final calibration accuracy of SPIRE being determined only by uncertainties in the models of astronomical standards.

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