AAS 198th Meeting, June 2001
Session 76. Beyond SIRTF/SOFIA/Herschel: New Generation FIR Telescopes
Display, Thursday, June 7, 2001, 9:20am-4:00pm, Exhibit Hall

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[76.03] The Wide Field Imaging Interferometry Testbed

X. Zhang (Raytheon ITSS/NASA's GSFC), W. C. Danchi, D. F. Leisawitz, D. B. Leviton, R. Lyon, A. J. Martino, J. C. Mather (NASA's GSFC), L. G. Mundy (U. Maryland)

We are developing a Wide-Field Imaging Interferometry Testbed (WIIT) in support of design studies for NASA's future space interferometry missions, in particular the SPIRIT (SPace InfraRed Interferometric telescope) and SPECS (Submillimeter Probe of the Evolution of Cosmic Structure) far-infrared/submillimeter interferometers. WIIT operates at optical wavelengths and uses Michelson beam combination to achieve both wide-field imaging and high-resolution spectroscopy. It will be used chiefly to test the feasibility of using a large-format detector array at the image plane of the sky to obtain wide-field interferometry images through mosaicing techniques. In this setup each detector pixel records interferograms corresponding to averaging a particular pointing range on the sky as the optical path length is scanned and as the baseline separation and orientation is varied. The final image is constructed through spatial and spectral Fourier transforms of the recorded interferograms for each pixel, followed by a mosaic/joint-deconvolution procedure of all the pixels. In this manner the image within the pointing range of each detector pixel is further resolved to an angular resolution corresponding to the maximum baseline separation for fringe measurements.

We present the motivation for building the testbed, show the optical, mechanical, control, and data system design, and describe the image processing requirements and algorithms. WIIT is presently under construction at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

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