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5 March 2003 Single aperture far-infrared observatory (SAFIR)
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Development of large, far-infrared telescopes in space has taken on a new urgency with breakthroughs in detector technology and recognition of the fundamental importance of the far-infrared spectral region to cosmological questions as well as to understanding how our own Solar System came into being. SAFIR is 10m-class far-infrared observatory that would begin development later in this decade to meet these needs. Its operating temperature (T ≤ 4 K) and instrument complement would be optimized to reach the natural sky confusion limit in the far-infrared with diffraction-limited peformance down to at least the atmospheric cutoff, λ ⪆ 40 μm. This would provide a point source sensitivity improvement of several orders of magnitude over that of SIRTF. SAFIR's science goals are driven by the fact that youngest stages of almost all phenomena in the universe are shrouded in absorption by and emission from cool dust that emits strongly in the far-infrared, 20 μm - 1mm. The main drivers on the telescope are operating temperature and aperture. SAFIR can take advantage of much of the technology under development for NGST. Because of the much less stringent requirements on optical accuracy, however, SAFIR can be developed at substantially lower cost.
© (2003) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Paul M. Harvey, George H. Rieke, Daniel F. Lester, and Dominic J. Benford "Single aperture far-infrared observatory (SAFIR)", Proc. SPIE 4850, IR Space Telescopes and Instruments, (5 March 2003);


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