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17 September 2012 Optical characterization of the SOFIA telescope using fast EM-CCD cameras
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The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has recently demonstrated its scientific capabilities in a first series of astronomical observing flights. In parallel, special measurements and engineering flights were conducted aiming at the characterization and the commissioning of the telescope and the complete airborne observatory. To support the characterization measurements, two commercial Andor iXon EM-CCD cameras have been used, a DU-888 dubbed Fast Diagnostic Camera (FDC) running at frame rates up to about 400 fps, and a DU-860 as a Super Fast Diagnostic Camera (SFDC) providing 2000 fps. Both cameras have been mounted to the telescope’s Focal Plane Imager (FPI) flange in lieu of the standard FPI tracking camera. Their fast image sequences have been used to analyze and to improve the telescope’s pointing stability, especially to help tuning active mass dampers that suppress eigenfrequencies in the telescope system, to characterize and to optimize the chopping secondary mirror and to investigate the structure and behavior of the shear layer that forms over the open telescope cavity in flight. In June 2011, a collaboration between the HIPO science instrument team, the MIT’s stellar occultation group and the FDC team, led to the first SOFIA observation of a stellar occultation by the dwarf planet Pluto over the Pacific.
© (2012) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Enrico Pfüller, Jürgen Wolf, Helen Hall, and Hans-Peter Röser "Optical characterization of the SOFIA telescope using fast EM-CCD cameras", Proc. SPIE 8444, Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes IV, 844413 (17 September 2012);


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