164 research outputs found

    Removing sky contributions from SCUBA data

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    The Submillimetre Common-User Bolometer Array (SCUBA) is a new continuum camera operating on the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. It consists of two arrays of bolometric detectors; a 91 pixel 350/450 micron array and a 37 pixel 750/850 micron array. Both arrays can be used simultaneously and have a field-of-view of approximately 2.4 arcminutes in diameter on the sky. Ideally, performance should be limited solely by the photon noise from the sky background at all wavelengths of operation. However, observations at submillimetre wavelengths are hampered by ``sky-noise'' which is caused by spatial and temporal fluctuations in the emissivity of the atmosphere above the telescope. These variations occur in atmospheric cells that are larger than the array diameter, and so it is expected that the resultant noise will be correlated across the array and, possibly, at different wavelengths. In this paper we describe our initial investigations into the presence of sky-noise for all the SCUBA observing modes, and explain our current technique for removing it from the data.Comment: 11 pages, 16 figures, Proc SPIE vol 335

    Extinction correction and on-sky calibration of SCUBA-2

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    Commissioning of SCUBA-2 included a program of skydips and observations of calibration sources intended to be folded into regular observing as standard methods of source flux calibration and to monitor the atmospheric opacity and stability. During commissioning, it was found that these methods could also be utilised to characterise the fundamental instrument response to sky noise and astronomical signals. Novel techniques for analysing on-sky performance and atmospheric conditions are presented, along with results from the calibration observations and skydips.Comment: 10 pages, 7 figure

    SCUBA - A submillimetre camera operating on the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope

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    The Submillimetre Common-User Bolometer Array (SCUBA) is one of a new generation of cameras designed to operate in the submillimetre waveband. The instrument has a wide wavelength range covering all the atmospheric transmission windows between 300 and 2000 microns. In the heart of the instrument are two arrays of bolometers optimised for the short (350/450 microns) and long (750/850 microns) wavelength ends of the submillimetre spectrum. The two arrays can be used simultaneously, giving a unique dual-wavelength capability, and have a 2.3 arc-minute field of view on the sky. Background-limited performance is achieved by cooling the arrays to below 100 mK. SCUBA has now been in active service for over a year, and has already made substantial breakthroughs in many areas of astronomy. In this paper we present an overview of the performance of SCUBA during the commissioning phase on the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT).Comment: 14 pages, 13 figures (1 JPEG), Proc SPIE vol 335

    New sub-millimeter limits on dust in the 55 Cancri planetary system

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    We present new, high-sensitivity sub-millimeter observations towards 55 Cancri, a nearby G8 star with one, or possibly two, known planetary companion(s). Our 850 ╬╝\mum map, obtained with the SCUBA instrument on the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, shows three peaks of emission at the 2.5 mJy level in the vicinity of the star's position. However, the observed peaks are 25\arcsec--40\arcsec away from the star and a deep RR-band optical image reveals faint point sources that coincide with two of the sub-millimeter peaks. Thus, we do not find evidence for dust emission spatially associated with 55 Cancri. The excess 60 ╬╝\mum emission detected with ISO may originate from one or more of the 850 ╬╝\mum peaks that we attribute to background sources. Our new results, together with the HST/NICMOS coronographic images in the near-infrared, place stringent limits on the amount of dust in this planetary system, and argue against the existence of a detectable circumstellar dust disk around 55 Cnc.Comment: 11 pages, 2 PostScript figures, to appear in The Astrophysical Journal Letter

    High performance WR-1.5 corrugated horn based on stacked rings

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    We present the development and characterisation of a high frequency (500-750 GHz) corrugated horn based on stacked rings. A previous horn design, based on a Winston profile, has been adapted for the purpose of this manufacturing process without noticeable RF degradation. A subset of experimental results obtained using a vector network analyser are presented and compared to the predicted performance. These first results demonstrate that this technology is suitable for most commercial applications and also astronomical receivers in need of horn arrays at high frequencies.Comment: 9 page

    Dust in the 55 Cancri planetary system

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    The presence of debris disks around Ôł╝\sim 1-Gyr-old main sequence stars suggests that an appreciable amount of dust may persist even in mature planetary systems. Here we report the detection of dust emission from 55 Cancri, a star with one, or possibly two, planetary companions detected through radial velocity measurements. Our observations at 850╬╝\mum and 450╬╝\mum imply a dust mass of 0.0008-0.005 Earth masses, somewhat higher than that in the the Kuiper Belt of our solar system. The estimated temperature of the dust grains and a simple model fit both indicate a central disk hole of at least 10 AU in radius. Thus, the region where the planets are detected is likely to be significantly depleted of dust. Our results suggest that far-infrared and sub-millimeter observations are powerful tools for probing the outer regions of extrasolar planetary systems.Comment: 8 pages and 2 figures, to appear in the Astrophysical Journa

    Active local oscillator power stabilization for a hot electron bolometer heterodyne receiver

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    We report on the application of a new technique for actively stabilizing the power of a far infrared gas laser as the local oscillator (LO) in a superconducting hot electron bolometer (HEB) heterodyne receiver system at 2.5 THz. The technique utilizes PID feedback control of the local oscillator intensity by means of a voice-coil based swing arm actuator placed in the beam path. The HEB itself is used as a direct detector to measure incident LO power whilst simultaneously continuing to function as heterodyne mixer. Results presented here demonstrate a factor of 50 improvement in the measured total power and spectroscopic Allan variance time. Allan times of 30 seconds and 25 seconds respectively are shown for large and small area HEB's with a measured effective noise fluctuation bandwidth of 12 MHz. The technique is versatile and can be applied to any LO source and at any LO frequency

    A new era of wide-field submillimetre imaging: on-sky performance of SCUBA-2

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    SCUBA-2 is the largest submillimetre wide-field bolometric camera ever built. This 43 square arc-minute field-of-view instrument operates at two wavelengths (850 and 450 microns) and has been installed on the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. SCUBA-2 has been successfully commissioned and operational for general science since October 2011. This paper presents an overview of the on-sky performance of the instrument during and since commissioning in mid-2011. The on-sky noise characteristics and NEPs of the 450 and 850 micron arrays, with average yields of approximately 3400 bolometers at each wavelength, will be shown. The observing modes of the instrument and the on-sky calibration techniques are described. The culmination of these efforts has resulted in a scientifically powerful mapping camera with sensitivities that allow a square degree of sky to be mapped to 10 mJy/beam rms at 850 micron in 2 hours and 60 mJy/beam rms at 450 micron in 5 hours in the best weather.Comment: 18 pages, 15 figures.SPIE Conference series 8452, Millimetre, Submillimetre and Far-infrared Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy VI 201
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