The Use of Color Sensors for Spectrographic Calibration [IMA]

The wavelength calibration of spectrographs is an essential but challenging task in many disciplines. Calibration is traditionally accomplished by imaging the spectrum of a light source containing features that are known to appear at certain wavelengths and mapping this to their location on the sensor. This is typically required in conjunction with each scientific observation to account for mechanical and optical variations of the instrument over time, which may span years for certain projects. The method presented here investigates the usage of color itself instead of spectral features to calibrate a spectrograph. The primary advantage of such a calibration is that any broad-spectrum light source such as the sky or an incandescent bulb is suitable. This method allows for calibration using the full optical pathway of the instrument instead of incorporating separate calibration equipment that may introduce errors. This paper focuses on the potential for color calibration in the field of radial velocity astronomy, in which instruments must be finely calibrated for long periods of time to detect tiny Doppler wavelength shifts. This paper demonstrates that color sensors have the potential to provide calibration with greatly reduced complexity.

Read this paper on arXiv…

N. Thomas
Fri, 12 Jan 18

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