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Session 3 - SIRTF.
Display session, Monday, January 13
The SIRTF mission provides a unique platform for the study of transient, target-of-opportunity (ToO) astrophysical phenomena at infrared wavelengths inaccessible from any groundbased or airborne observatory. In particular, the instrumental sensitivities of the MIPS and IRAC imagers and the IRS spectrometers will permit the observation of a wide-variety of transient phenomena at wavelengths from 3.5 to 160 microns. Current mission guidelines limit the observational modes of the SIRTF focal plane instruments and auxiliary tracking/peak-up sensors to simplify mission operation. In addition, block scheduling of MIPS, IRAC, and IRS operation is tentatively planned to minimize loss of observing efficiency (clock-time) due to instrument switch-over. Like IRAS and ISO, the SIRTF mission life is limited by cryogen depletion to approximately 2.5 years. Thus, opportunity to investigate the temporal evolution of transient astrophysical events and/or to conduct follow-on observations of new and serendipitous phenomena discovered by SIRTF during the active mission is finite. As with all SIRTF observational programs, the databases generated from ToO initiatives should be of sufficient integrity to provide a mission legacy to the broad astrophysical community.
These mission constraints require careful planning and scheduling of ToO requests to maximize scientific return. In our paper, we will address how SIRTF can respond to target of opportunity phenomena within the current mission operations envelope and discuss potential observing strategies for representative ToO programs based on current mission design.
Further information regarding this NASA mission can be found on the SIRTF-homepage: http://www.ipac.caltech.edu/sirtf
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Program listing for Monday