Ground-based thermal-infrared observations have a unique scientific potential, but are also extremely challenging due to the need to accurately subtract the high thermal background. Since the established techniques of chopping and nodding need to be modified for observations with the future mid-infrared ELT imager and spectrograph (METIS), we investigate the sources of thermal background subtraction residuals. Our aim is to either remove or at least minimise the need for nodding in order to increase the observing efficiency for METIS. To this end we need to improve our knowledge about the origin of chop residuals and devise observing methods to remove them most efficiently, i.e. with the slowest possible nodding frequency. Thanks to dedicated observations with VLT/VISIR and GranTeCan/CanariCam, we have successfully traced the origin of three kinds of chopping residuals to (1) the entrance window, (2) the spiders and (3) other warm emitters in the pupil, in particular the VLT M3 mirror cell in its parking position. We conclude that, in order to keep chopping residuals stable over a long time (and therefore allow for slower nodding cycles), the pupil illumination needs to be kept constant, i.e. (imaging) observations should be performed in pupil-stabilised, rather than field-stabilised mode, with image de-rotation in the post-processing pipeline. This is now foreseen as the default observing concept for all METIS imaging modes.
Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) Conference Series
- Pub Date:
- December 2020
- Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics
- 17 pages, 9 figures, submitted to the SPIE proceedings as paper no. 11447-403