Development of TCal: a mobile spectrophotometric calibration unit for astronomical imaging systems


Peter Ferguson, D. L. DePoy, L. Schmidt, J. L. Marshall, T. Prochaska, Daniel Freeman, Lawrence Gardner, Isaac Gutierrez, Doyeon Kim, Zeeshan Kunnummal, Marcus Sauseda, Hugh Sharp, and Michael Torregosa. 2018. “Development of TCal: a mobile spectrophotometric calibration unit for astronomical imaging systems.” SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation 10702, Pp. 8. SPIE. Read Full Paper


We describe TCal, a mobile spectrophotometric calibration system that will be used to characterize the throughput as a function of wavelength of imaging systems at observatories around the world. TCal measurements will enhance the science return from follow-up observations of imaging surveys such as LSST (Large Synoptic Survey Telescope) and DES (Dark Energy Survey) by placing all tested imaging systems on a common photometric baseline. TCal uses a 1 nm bandpass tunable light source to measure the instrumental response function of imaging systems from 300 nm to 1100 nm, including the telescope, optics, filters, windows, and the detector. The system is comprised of a monochromator-based light source illuminating a dome flat field screen monitored by calibrated photodiodes, which allows determination of the telescope throughput as a function of wavelength. This calibration will be performed at 1-8m telescopes that expect to devote time towards survey follow-up. Performing the calibration on these telescopes will reduce systematic errors due to small differences in bandpass, making follow-up efforts more precise and accurate.
Last updated on 07/12/2018