Publication archive

Publication archive

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.

Published: 17 July 2010

The Spectral and Photometric Imaging REceiver (SPIRE), 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) which covers simultaneously its whole operating range of 194-671 mm (447-1550 GHz).

The SPIRE detectors are arrays of feedhorn-coupled bolometers cooled to 0.3 K. The photometer has a field of view of 4'× 8', observed simultaneously in the three spectral bands. Its main operating mode is scan-mapping, whereby the field of view is scanned across the sky to achieve full spatial sampling and to cover large areas if desired. The spectrometer has an approximately circular field of view with a diameter of 2.6'. The spectral resolution can be adjusted between 1.2 and 25 GHz by changing the stroke length of the FTS scan mirror. Its main operating mode involves a fixed telescope pointing with multiple scans of the FTS mirror to acquire spectral data. For extended source measurements, multiple position offsets are implemented by means of an internal beam steering mirror to achieve the desired spatial sampling and by rastering of the telescope pointing to map areas larger than the field of view.

The SPIRE instrument consists of a cold focal plane unit located inside the Herschel cryostat and warm electronics units, located on the spacecraft Service Module, for instrument control and data handling. Science data are transmitted to Earth with no on-board data compression, and processed by automatic pipelines to produce calibrated science products. The in-flight performance of the instrument matches or exceeds predictions based on pre-launch testing and modelling: the photometer sensitivity is comparable to or slightly better than estimated pre-launch, and the spectrometer sensitivity is also better by a factor of 1.5 - 2.

Published: 17 July 2010

The Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer (PACS) is one of the three science instruments on ESA's far infrared and submillimetre observatory. It employs two Ge:Ga photoconductor arrays (stressed and unstressed) with 16×25 pixels, each, and two filled silicon bolometer arrays with 16×32 and 32×64 pixels, respectively, to perform integral-field spectroscopy and imaging photometry in the 60-210 mm wavelength regime.

In photometry mode, it simultaneously images two bands, 60-85 mm or 85-125 mm and 125-210 mm, over a field of view of ~1.75'× 3.5', with close to Nyquist beam sampling in each band.

In spectroscopy mode, it images a field of 47" × 47", resolved into 5×5 pixels, with an instantaneous spectral coverage of ~1500 kms-1 and a spectral resolution of ~175 km s-1.

We summarise the design of the instrument, describe observing modes, calibration, and data analysis methods, and present our current assessment of the in-orbit performance of the instrument based on the performance verification tests. PACS is fully operational, and the achieved performance is close to or better than the pre-launch predictions.

Published: 17 July 2010

Herschel was launched on 14 May 2009, and is now an operational ESA space observatory offering unprecedented observational capabilities in the far-infrared and submillimetre spectral range 55-671 mm. Herschel carries a 3.5 m diameter passively cooled Cassegrain telescope, which is the largest of its kind and utilises a novel silicon carbide technology.

The science payload comprises three instruments: two direct detection cameras/medium resolution spectrometers, PACS and SPIRE, and a very high-resolution heterodyne spectrometer, HIFI, whose focal plane units are housed inside a superfluid helium cryostat. Herschel is an observatory facility operated in partnership among ESA, the instrument consortia, and NASA.

The mission lifetime is determined by the cryostat hold time. Nominally approximately 20 000 h will be available for astronomy, 32% is guaranteed time and the remainder is open to the worldwide general astronomical community through a standard competitive proposal procedure.

Published: 17 July 2010
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is one of the greatest scientific projects of all time. For 20 years, Hubble has opened our eyes to the wonders of our 'planetary' backyard and beyond, and has made a number of fundamental discoveries in astronomy and physics.
Published: 17 July 2010
XMM-Newton has had a major impact on modern astrophysics, with a steady stream of new results. The XMM-Newton spacecraft, instruments and ground segment are ready to continue this success for many years to come, and provide the worldwide scientific community with the means to address many exciting new challenges.
Published: 17 July 2010
We summarize the first results from the Gould Belt Survey, obtained toward the Aquila rift and Polaris Flare regions during the science demonstration phase of Herschel. Our 70-500 micron images taken in parallel mode with the SPIRE and PACS cameras reveal a wealth of filamentary structure, as well as numerous dense cores embedded in the filaments. Between ~350 and 500 prestellar cores and ~45-60 Class 0 protostars can be identified in the Aquila field, while ~300 unbound starless cores and no protostars are observed in the Polaris field. The prestellar core mass function (CMF) derived for the Aquila region bears a strong resemblance to the stellar initial mass function (IMF), already confirming the close connection between the CMF and the IMF with much better statistics than earlier studies. Comparing and contrasting our Herschel results in Aquila and Polaris, we propose an observationally-driven scenario for core formation according to which complex networks of long, thin filaments form first within molecular clouds, and then the densest filaments fragment into a number of prestellar cores via gravitational instability.
Published: 17 July 2010
Published: 16 July 2010
The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope reveals a diffuse inverse Compton (IC) signal in the inner Galaxy with a similar spatial morphology to the microwave haze observed by WMAP, supporting the synchrotron interpretation of the microwave signal. Using spatial templates, we regress out pi^0 gammas, as well as IC and bremsstrahlung components associated with known soft-synchrotron counterparts. We find a significant gamma-ray excess toward the Galactic center with a spectrum that is significantly harder than other sky components and is most consistent with IC from a hard population of electrons. The morphology and spectrum are consistent with it being the IC counterpart to the electrons which generate the microwave haze seen at WMAP frequencies. In addition, the implied electron spectrum is hard; electrons accelerated in supernova shocks in the disk which then diffuse a few kpc to the haze region would have a softer spectrum. We describe the full-sky Fermi maps used in this analysis and make them available for download.
Published: 11 July 2010

A&A doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200912891

We describe the optical design and optimisation of the Low Frequency Instrument, one of two instruments onboard the Planck satellite, which will survey the cosmic microwave background with unprecedented accuracy. The LFI covers the 30 - 70 GHz frequency range with an array of cryogenic radiometers. Stringent optical requirements on angular resolution, sidelobes, main beam symmetry, polarization purity, and feed orientation have been achieved. The optimisation process was carried out by assuming an ideal telescope according to the Planck design and by using both physical optics and multi-reflector geometrical theory of diffraction. This extensive study led to the flight design of the feed horns, their characteristics, arrangement, and orientation, while taking into account the opto-mechanical constraints imposed by complex interfaces in the Planck focal surface.

Published: 10 July 2010

A&A doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200912837

This paper provides an overview of the Low Frequency Instrument (LFI) programme within the ESA Planck mission. The LFI instrument has been developed to produce high precision maps of the microwave sky at frequencies in the range 27-77 GHz, below the peak of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation spectrum. The scientific goals are described, ranging from fundamental cosmology to Galactic and extragalactic astrophysics. The instrument design and development are outlined, together with the model philosophy and testing strategy. The instrument is presented in the context of the Planck mission. The LFI approach to ground and inflight calibration is described. We also describe the LFI ground segment. We present the results of a number of tests demonstrating the capability of the LFI data processing centre (DPC) to properly reduce and analyse LFI flight data, from telemetry information to calibrated and cleaned time ordered data, sky maps at each frequency (in temperature and polarization), component emission maps (CMB and diffuse foregrounds), catalogs for various classes of sources (the Early Release Compact Source Catalogue and the Final Compact Source Catalogue). The organization of the LFI consortium is briefly presented as well as the role of the core team in data analysis and scientific exploitation. All tests carried out on the LFI flight model demonstrate the excellent performance of the instrument and its various subunits. The data analysis pipeline has been tested and its main steps verified. In the first three months after launch, the commissioning, calibration, performance, and verification phases will be completed, after which Planck will begin its operational life, in which LFI will have an integral part.

Published: 10 July 2010

A&A doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200912853

In this paper we present the Low Frequency Instrument (LFI), designed and developed as part of the Planck space mission, the ESA programme dedicated to precision imaging of the cosmic microwave background (CMB). Planck-LFI will observe the full sky in intensity and polarisation in three frequency bands centred at 30, 44 and 70 GHz, while higher frequencies (100-850 GHz) will be covered by the HFI instrument. The LFI is an array of microwave radiometers based on state-of-the-art indium phosphide cryogenic HEMT amplifiers implemented in a differential system using blackbody loads as reference signals. The front end is cooled to 20K for optimal sensitivity and the reference loads are cooled to 4K to minimise low-frequency noise. We provide an overview of the LFI, discuss the leading scientific requirements, and describe the design solutions adopted for the various hardware subsystems. The main drivers of the radiometric, optical, and thermal design are discussed, including the stringent requirements on sensitivity, stability, and rejection of systematic effects. Further details on the key instrument units and the results of ground calibration are provided in a set of companion papers.

Published: 10 July 2010

A&A doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200913039

The Planck High Frequency Instrument, HFI, has been designed to allow a clear unobscured view of the CMB sky through an off-axis Gregorian telescope. The prime science target is to measure the polarized anisotropy of the CMB with a sensitivity of 1 part in 106 with a maximum spatial resolution of 5 arcmin (Cl ~ 3000) in four spectral bands with two further high-frequency channels measuring total power for foreground removal. These requirements place critical constraints on both the telescope configuration and the receiver coupling and require precise determination of the spectral and spatial characteristics at the pixel level, whilst maintaining control of the polarisation. To meet with the sensitivity requirements, the focal plane needs to be cooled with the optics at a few Kelvin and detectors at 100 mK. To limit inherent instrumental thermal emission and difraction effects, there is no vacuum window, so the detector feedhorns view the telescope secondary directly. This requires that the instrument is launched warm with the cooler chain only being activated during its cruise to L2. Here we present the novel optical configuration designed to meet with all the above criteria.

Published: 10 July 2010

A&A doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200912849

We present the calibration and scientific performance parameters of the Planck Low Frequency Instrument (LFI) measured during the ground cryogenic test campaign. These parameters characterise the instrument response and constitute our optimal pre-launch knowledge of the LFI scientific performance. The LFI shows excellent 1/f stability and rejection of instrumental systematic effects; its measured noise performance shows that LFI is the most sensitive instrument of its kind. The calibration parameters will be updated during flight operations until the end of the mission.

Published: 10 July 2010

A&A doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200912999

Planck is a European Space Agency (ESA) satellite, launched in May 2009, which will map the Cosmic Microwave Background anisotropies in intensity and polarisation with unprecedented detail and sensitivity. It will also provide full-sky maps of astrophysical foregrounds. An accurate knowledge of the telescope beam patterns is an essential element for a correct analysis of the acquired astrophysical data.We present a detailed description of the optical design of the High Frequency Instrument (HFI) together with some of the optical performances measured during the calibration campaigns.We report on the evolution of the knowledge of the pre-launch HFI beam patterns when coupled to ideal telescope elements, and on their significance for the HFI data analysis procedure.

Published: 10 July 2010

A&A doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200912975

Context. The High Frequency Instrument (HFI) is one of the two focal instruments of the Planck mission. It will observe the whole sky in six bands in the 100 GHz - 1 THz range.
Aims. The HFI instrument is designed to measure the cosmic microwave background (CMB) with a sensitivity limited only by fundamental sources: the photon noise of the CMB itself and the residuals left after the removal of foregrounds. The two high frequency bands will provide full maps of the submillimetre sky, featuring mainly extended and point source foregrounds. Systematic effects must be kept at negligible levels or accurately monitored so that the signal can be corrected. This paper describes the HFI design and its characteristics deduced from ground tests and calibration.
Methods. The HFI instrumental concept and architecture are feasible only by pushing new techniques to their extreme capabilities, mainly: (i) bolometers working at 100 mK and absorbing the radiation in grids, (ii) a dilution cooler providing 100 mK in microgravity conditions, (iii) a new type of AC biased readout electronics and (iv) optical channels using devices inspired from radio and infrared techniques.
Results. The Planck-HFI instrument performance exceeds requirements for sensitivity and control of systematic effects. During ground-based calibration and tests, it was measured at instrument and system levels to be close to or better than the goal specification.

Published: 10 July 2010

A&A doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200912911

Planck is a scientific satellite that represents the next milestone in space-based research related to the cosmic microwave background, and in many other astrophysical fields. Planck was launched on 14 May of 2009 and is now operational. The uncertainty in the optical response of its detectors is a key factor allowing Planck to achieve its scientific objectives. More than a decade of analysis and measurements have gone into achieving the required performances. In this paper, we describe the main aspects of the Planck optics that are relevant to Planck science, and the estimated in-flight performance, based on the knowledge available at the time of launch. We also briefly describe the impact of the major systematic effects of optical origin, and the concept of in-flight optical calibration. Detailed discussions of related areas are provided in accompanying papers.

Published: 10 July 2010

A&A doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200913203

Context. The Planck satellite was successfully launched on May 14th 2009. We have completed the pre-launch calibration measurements of the High Frequency Instrument (HFI) on board Planck and their processing.
Aims. We present the results ot the pre-launch calibration of HFI in which we have multiple objectives. First, we determine instrumental parameters that cannot be measured in-flight and predict parameters that can. Second, we take the opportunity to operate and understand the instrument under a wide range of anticipated operating conditions. Finally, we estimate the performance of the instrument built.
Methods. We obtained our pre-launch calibration results by characterising the component and subsystems, then by calibrating the focal plane at IAS (Orsay) in the Saturne simulator, and later from the tests at the satellite level carried out in the CSL (Liege) cryogenic vacuum chamber. We developed models to estimate the instrument pre-launch parameters when no measurement could be performed.
Results. We reliably measure the Planck-HFI instrument characteristics and behaviour, and determine the flight nominal setting of all parameters. The expected in-flight performance exceeds the requirements and is close or superior to the goal specifications.

Published: 10 July 2010

A&A doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200913054

The High Frequency Instrument of Planck will map the entire sky in the millimeter and sub-millimeter domain from 100 to 857 GHz with unprecedented sensitivity to polarization (DP/Tcmb ~4 x 10-6 for P either Q or U and Tcmb~2.7 K) at 100, 143, 217 and 353 GHz. It will lead to major improvements in our understanding of the Cosmic Microwave Background anisotropies and polarized foreground signals. Planck will make high resolution measurements of the E- mode spectrum (up to l~1500) and will also play a prominent role in the search for the faint imprint of primordial gravitational waves on the CMB polarization.

Published: 10 July 2010

A&A doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200912860

The Low Frequency Instrument (LFI) on-board the ESA Planck satellite carries eleven radiometer subsystems, called Radiometer Chain Assemblies (RCAs), each composed of a pair of pseudo-correlation receivers. We describe the on-ground calibration campaign performed to qualify the flight model RCAs and to measure their pre-launch performances. Each RCA was calibrated in a dedicated flight-like cryogenic environment with the radiometer front-end cooled to 20K and the back-end at 300K, and with an external input load cooled to 4K. A matched load simulating a blackbody at different temperatures was placed in front of the sky horn to derive basic radiometer properties such as noise temperature, gain, and noise performance, e.g. 1/f noise. The spectral response of each detector was measured as was their susceptibility to thermal variation. All eleven LFI RCAs were calibrated. Instrumental parameters measured in these tests, such as noise temperature, bandwidth, radiometer isolation, and linearity, provide essential inputs to the Planck-LFI data analysis.

Published: 10 July 2010
3-Apr-2020 17:58 UT

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