Guide to Observation Planning with GREAT - SOFIA

SOFIA/GREAT Observation Planning [Version 7, July 7, 2014]
Guide to Planning Observations with SOFIA/GREAT 1. Introduction GREAT is a heterodyne receiver, similar to HIFI on Herschel, designed to observe
spectral lines in the THz region with high spectral resolution and sensitivity. Heterodyne
receivers work by mixing the signal from a source at a given frequency νs with that from
a local oscillator (LO) at a specified (and precisely controlled) frequency νLO and
amplifying the result. The mixing results in two frequency bands, called the signal and
the image bands, located symmetrically on either side of νLO and separated from νLO by
the intermediate frequency νIF = |νs - νLO|. GREAT operates in double sideband mode, i.e.
both the image and signal bands are equally sensitive to incoming radiation. By definition
the spectral line of interest is always centered in the signal band, which can be chosen to
be either above (Upper Side Band, USB) or below the LO frequency (Lower Side Band,
LSB); see Figure 1 below. For sources rich in spectral lines, care has to be taken so that a
spectral line in the image band does not overlap or blend with the line in the signal band.
A detailed description of the GREAT instrument and its performance during Basic
Science can be found in the GREAT special issue (Heyminck et al. 2012, A&A, 542, L1).
However, as the instrument is regularly being upgraded and the performance improves,
always check the GREAT team web page for the latest information (
at 4K
ν s ± Δν
Bandwidth Δν [GHz]
IF Preamplifier
νLO [THz]
Local Oscillator
2nd Mixer
νIF = ν s - νLO [GHz]
Filter/ Amplifier
Fig. 1: Schematics of one GREAT receiver channel. The second mixer-stage is needed to match the operational frequencies of the first mixer-element to that of the microwave spectrometer.
SOFIA/GREAT Observation Planning [Version 7, July 7, 2014]
2. Front-­‐end Set-­‐Up GREAT is a dual-channel heterodyne instrument. The user must select a different mixer
for each channel. These are then operated simultaneously. The mixers that are currently
operational are listed in the table below. Not every mixer configuration will be available
at any given time. Also, not all frequencies have been checked, so there may be gaps
where the LOs do not provide enough power to pump the mixer. Please check the
GREAT website or the SOFIA helpdesk for the latest information.
Low frequency L11
Low frequency L2
Mid frequency Ma
Mid frequency Mb
High frequency H
Frequencies [THz]
Lines of Interest
CO (11-10),(12-11), OD, SH, H2D+, etc.
CO 13-12, [NII], etc.
CO 16-15, [CII], NH3 3-2, OH 2Π1/2, etc.
OH 2Π3/2
HD 1-0
In Cycle 3, GREAT offers only two mixer configurations: the low frequency
configuration (L1-L2), employing L1 in one dewar and L2 in the second dewar) and the
low2 and high frequency configuration, (L2-H), which simultaneously covers the
important cooling lines [CII] and [OI], although L2 can also be tuned to molecular lines
within that band. Both configurations (L1-L2, and L2-H) are expected to be available for
each observing campaign. A configuration change takes three days and is usually done
over a weekend.
3. Back-­‐end Set-­‐Up Each of the two installed mixers is provided with two digital Fast Fourier Transform
(FFT) spectrometers: the XFFTS and the AFFTS. The XFFTS has a bandwidth of 2.5
GHz and 64,000 channels, providing a resolution of 44 kHz. The older generation,
AFFTS has a 1.5 GHz bandwidth and a resolution of 212 kHz.
The usable instantaneous bandwidth is generally less than that covered by the FFTS. The
L1 mixer has a double side band (DSB) receiver temperature of 750 K averaged over a 1
GHz bandwidth. The usable bandwidth is more than 1.5 GHz, but with higher receiver
temperatures at the edge of the band. For L2, the DSB receiver temperature is 1100 K,
also averaged over a 1 GHz bandwidth. The receiver temperature for the mid-frequency
channel Ma is ~ 2200 K averaged over a 1 GHz bandwidth. The receiver temperature for
the H-channel is 1400 K over 1.9 GHz, which corresponds to a velocity range of only 120
km/s. The tunability of the H-Channel is limited because the LO, a Quantum Cascade
Laser can only be tuned in discrete steps. The standard LO setup of 1.682 GHz (relative
the gap in the L1 coverage between 1.39-1.42 THz matches the frequencies that are
blocked by the atmosphere
SOFIA/GREAT Observation Planning [Version 7, July 7, 2014]
to the [OI] rest frequency, 4.74477749 THz) offers usable velocity coverage from -25
km/s to 90 km/s. The negative velocity setup (LO offset 0) provides a usable velocity
range from -30 to -140 km/s. For this tuning the signal band has to be USB and therefore
the image band moves towards the less transparent part of the atmosphere, but because of
the negative velocity shift, the system temperature for both cases is comparable. Both LO
setups requires the user to calculate the LSR velocity including Doppler shift, see
examples in Appendix 1
4. Observing Modes Four basic observing modes are currently offered:
1) Position switching mode. In this mode the telescope alternates (nods) between
the target and a nearby reference position free of emission spending equal amount of
time on each position. From the difference of each pair of spectra, i.e. target –
reference, often called ON – OFF, the GREAT software produces a spectrum, which
is largely corrected for atmospheric and instrumental effects. The integration time
spent on a single target position depends on the stability of the receiver and how fast
the atmosphere fluctuates. It is typically ≤30 seconds, but can be adjusted during the
flight if necessary. If shorter integration times are used, one gets a better cancellation
of the sky fluctuations, but adds to overheads and therefore reduces the observing
efficiency. The ON – OFF cycle is repeated until the required sensitivity is reached.
Position switching is used when we want to observe one or a few positions of an
extended source, like a large molecular cloud. If the reference position is far from the
target position, e.g., 30 arcmin or more, changes in the sky background will result in
poor baselines. If you cannot identify a reference position within 30 arcmin from your
source position, choose a reference position say half way between your source and
measure it against your clean reference position.
2) Dual Beam Switching (DBS) mode. In this mode the secondary mirror is
chopping between the target (signal) and a sky position (reference) at a rate of 1 Hz.
The maximum chop throw must be < 10 arcmin, set by the limits of the chopping
secondary. In addition, the telescope nods between the signal and the reference,
typically ≤40 seconds. The difference, signal – reference, divided by the reference,
produces a spectrum similar to what we get in position switching mode. Because the
chopping secondary continuously produces a difference between the target and the
sky, this mode results in better sky cancellation and hence better baseline stability.
Beam switching is typically used for point or compact sources, because the chop
throw has to be larger than half of the source size. Keep the chop throw as small as
possible, preferably in the range of 60 – 120 arcseconds. Large chop throws introduce
coma, i.e. distorts the beam, and uncertainties in the chop throw results in pointing
errors, if there is a difference between the chop throw and the nod.
SOFIA/GREAT Observation Planning [Version 7, July 7, 2014]
3) Raster mapping. This mode is for small maps or strips, where one needs
relatively long integration times per map point. A typical example would be a small 3
x 3 map (9 points) with 30 seconds per map point. Raster maps can be done in either
beam switched or position switch mode. For larger maps of bright lines the preferred
mode is on-the fly mapping (see below), which is more efficient. However, even for a
small map the OTF mode is more efficient as long as the lines is bright enough so that
one can reach the required signal to noise within 20 or 30 repeats of the map.
4) On-The-Fly (OTF) mapping. In this mode the telescope starts with the
reference position and then scans along a row (at constant latitude if the map rotation
is zero – the default), while the backends are continuously integrating the incoming
signal. An average is recorded after the telescope has moved a fraction (typically half
to one third) of the beam size. Each average therefore corresponds to a point on the
sky with a finite width. At the end of the row the telescope again moves to the
reference position where it integrates √N times the integration time per point, where
N is the number of points in a row. After all positions in the row and the reference
position are completed, the telescope steps about half a beam width in latitude and
does a new scan + reference. This process is repeated until we have built up a map of
the desired size. The whole map is repeated until the required sensitivity is reached.
The grid size must be the same in both latitude and longitude.
On SOFIA, OTF mapping is more efficient than raster mapping in position switch
mode, only if the integration time per position is small. Thus, on-the-fly mapping is
the preferred mode when we want to map the distribution of a relatively bright line
over a large area (e.g., a map of the [C II] 158 µm line in a molecular cloud). For faint
emission, it is therefore better to stick to raster mapping.
The size of the scan is limited by the stability of the receiver and atmosphere and the
time spent on the scan and reference position is therefore typically limited to less than
60 seconds. The minimum integration time per position is 1sec/map point. For a large
map one therefore has to break up the map into a number of sub-maps.
5. Sensitivity and Observing Time Estimation Sensitivities and observing time estimates can be obtained with the online tool It calculates either the signal-to-noise
ratio for a given line brightness and integration time (ON+OFF), or the integration time
(ON+OFF) needed to reach a certain RMS noise level for one point on the sky (ON
minus OFF). These integration times do not include tuning, chopping, slewing and other
observatory overheads. The total time, including all overheads, is determined in SPT or
SSPOT after entering the time calculated by the online GREAT time estimator.
As for other heterodyne receivers that use hot and cold loads to measure the receiver
temperature, the intensity units are Kelvin (K). The intensity scale used in the online tool
SOFIA/GREAT Observation Planning [Version 7, July 7, 2014]
is brightness temperature TR*. This relates to the measured antenna temperature as
TA*=TR*ηfss and the main beam temperature (corrected for losses in the side lobes) as
TMB=TR*/ηMB. For GREAT, ηfss=0.95 and in bands L1 and L2 ηMB=0.67. A detailed
description of the GREAT intensity calibration is given in Appendix 1. It also contains
worked out examples for different observing modes, as well as unit conversions.
The online GREAT time estimator is also useful to determine in which sideband the line
of interest is best put, taking into account the atmospheric transmission. System
temperatures for the line in the USB or LSB are given, as well as a plot showing the line
locations for either LO tuning in comparison with the atmospheric transmission.
6. SSPOT Entries SSPOT has observation templates (AORs) for the GREAT Single Point, Raster Map and
OTF Map modes. The following information needs to be provided:
Source velocity (LSR) and rest frequencies of the line to be observed with mixer 1
and of the line to be observed with mixer 2. The specific mixers (see the table in
section 2) to use must be selected with the buttons. The flight team will decide the
optimal LO frequencies for observing these lines (USB versus LSB, position of
the line in the IF), taking into account frequency-dependent system performance
and atmospheric transmission. If you have specific requests, such as observing
other lines in the same setting, please note those in the comments section of the
AOR template.
If you are searching for a line or if you are uncertain about how strong, and at
what velocity your line will be, do at least one frequency shift. The easiest way to
do this is to change the source velocity (Vlsr) by something like 10 to 20 km/s.
The mixer will have to be retuned and a new calibration done, which involves a
small cost in time (~2 minutes).
You do not have to choose a backend. Data gets automatically recorded on all
For all observing modes, the integration time per point on the sky must be
entered. This should not be more than ~60 seconds, although for Dual Beam
Switch Mode our default is 80 seconds (40 second in each nod position). If longer
exposures are needed, which is almost always the case, please increase the
number of cycles. For maps, ‘cycles’ indicates the number of times the maps are
Plan each AOR so that it does not take longer than about half an hour to execute.
If you are making a big OTF map, make it into a set of smaller maps. With the
entry “Minimum Contiguous Exposure Time” you can specify the minimum
acceptable observing time in case the observation has to be split over multiple
parts for, e.g., efficient flight planning.
For all AORs, the instrument mode ‘Total Power’ refers to position switch.
In OTF mode, the ‘Single Beam Switch’ instrument mode is rarely used. Position
switch is preferred.
SOFIA/GREAT Observation Planning [Version 7, July 7, 2014]
In Dual Beam Switch Mode (for point and raster map AORs), a chopping angle
can be specified, defined in the usual ‘North through East’ direction.
Choose your reference position as close to your source as possible. Absolutely no
further away than half a degree and preferably you can find a reference position
within 10 – 15 arcminutes from your source. A reference position, which is more
than half a degree away from your target, is not likely to work and may result in
really poor baselines. The same is true if you observe in beam switched mode. For
most observations a chop throw of 100” or less should be sufficient. Large chop
throws degrade the pointing of the telescope, introduces coma into the beam and
degrades the data quality.
Appendix 1: GREAT Sensitivity Calculations The GREAT sensitivities and integration times are calculated with the online tool Here, the background of these
calculations and some worked out examples are presented.
Because of the way a heterodyne receiver is calibrated (i.e. measuring the receiver
temperature, Trx, with a hot and a cold load), the logical intensity unit for a heterodyne
observation is temperature, expressed in Kelvin (K). Either the antenna temperature, TA* ,
(The asterisk refers to values after correction for sky transmission, telescope losses and
rearward spillover, see e.g. Kutner and Ulich, ApJ, 250, 341 (1981) ) or the main beam
brightness temperature, Tmb , are used. Similarly, the noise is expressed in temperature
units as well, ΔTA * or ΔTmb, and the sensitivity (or signal-to-noise ratio) of the
observations are given by the ratio of the source temperature and the rms temperature of
the spectrum. In order to calculate these quantities, we first must estimate the single
sideband (SSB) system temperature, Tsys, which also includes losses from the atmosphere
and the telescope. Tsys is given by
Tsys = 2 x [Trx + ηtelJ x Tsky + ηtel x Ts + Ttel ] /( ηtel x ηsky)
Trx is the double side band (DSB) receiver temperature;
Tsky is the radiation temperature of the sky
Ts is the continuum temperature of the source. This term is usually completely
negligible (unless you observe an extremely bright object (like Jupiter, Saturn or
Sgr B2) and is therefore set to 0 in the GREAT time estimator.
Ttel is the Rayleigh-Jeans telescope temperature;
ηsky is the fraction of radiation transmitted through the atmosphere; and
ηtel is the efficiency of the telescope, which includes ohmic losses and spillover.
The factor 2 in expression (1) assumes that the noise temperature is the same in both
signal and image band, which is true for the HEB mixers used by GREAT.
SOFIA/GREAT Observation Planning [Version 7, July 7, 2014]
The transmission of the atmosphere, ηsky, at the altitude, observing frequency and airmass
that we plan to observe at, can be estimated using the atmospheric transmission code
ATRAN, available on the SOFIA webpage. The GREAT time estimator calls ATRAN
directly, so if you are estimating the integration time you need using the time estimator,
there is no need to run ATRAN separately. Tsky depends on ηsky and the ambient
temperature of the sky (Tamb) where the signal is absorbed and can be derived from the
Tsky = J(Tamb) x (1 - ηsky )
where J(Tamb) is the mean Rayleigh-Jeans (R-J) temperature of the atmosphere, which
we assume to have a physical temperature of 220 K at 41,000 ft, resulting in J(Tamb) =
177.5 K at 1.9 THz. Likewise the telescope temperature, Ttel, is related to ηtel by
Ttel = Jtel x (1 - ηtel)
where Jtel is the radiation temperature of the telescope, with a physical temperature ~ 230
K (Jtel = 187.4 K at 1.9 THz). If we assume an ηtel of 0.92, then Ttel = 14.8 K.
As an example, let us calculate the system temperature at the [CII] fine structure line at
157.74 µm (1.9005369 THz). In this example we calculate what we would have at the
beginning of a flight, when we are still at low altitude. We therefore assume that we fly at
an altitude of 39,000 ft and observe at an elevation of 30 degree. For a standard
atmospheric model this corresponds to a transmission of ~ 76%, which gives Tsky = 42.6
K. For a receiver temperature Trc = 1100 K, Equation (1) therefore predicts a single
sideband system temperature Tsys = 3301 K when observing the sky.
Now we are ready to calculate the sensitivity. The rms antenna temperature, (corrected
for the atmospheric absorption, and telescope losses), ΔTA*, for both position switching
and beam switching is given by
ΔTA * = (2 x Tsys x κ ) x (t x Δν)
where κ is the backend degradation factor, t is the total integration time of the number of
on and off pairs that we plan to take, and Δν is the frequency resolution of our spectra.
Strictly speaking, Δν is the noise bandwidth, which can be slightly different than the
frequency resolution, depending on the design of the spectrometer. For our example we
expect the Full Width Half Maximum (FWHM) of the line to be a few km/s, and we will
therefore calculate the rms for a velocity resolution of 1 km/s, corresponding to a
frequency resolution of 6.3 MHz. Since both backends for L2 have much higher
resolution, this is not a problem. We can easily bin the spectrum to our desired velocity
resolution. For an observation with 3 pairs of 40 seconds in each beam, or t = 4 min, and
assuming the backend degradation factor κ=1, we then find ΔTA * = 0.17 K, which is the
one sigma rms antenna temperature.
SOFIA/GREAT Observation Planning [Version 7, July 7, 2014]
To convert antenna temperature to brightness temperature TR*, we have to make one
more correction.
TR* = TA*/ηfss
where ηfss is the forward scattering efficiency, usually measured for a very extended
source (like the Moon). For GREAT ηfss = 0.97. Therefore our brightness rms
temperature, ΔTR* = 0.18 K.2 Note: The GREAT time estimator assumes the line
temperature in TR*, and not in main beam brightness temperature, Tmb = TR*/ηmb, which
is for a source that just fills the main beam. For the GREAT L1 and the L2 band, ηmb =
If we want to express our results in flux density, S , rather than brightness temperature,
we can convert antenna temperature, TA, to flux density, S , using the standard relation
S = 2 x k x ηfss x TA */Aeff
where k is the Boltzmann constant, and Aeff is the effective area of the telescope. Aeff is
related to the geometrical surface area of the telescope, Ag, by the aperture efficiency, ηa,
i.e. Aeff = ηa x Ag. For the measured main beam efficiency in early April 2013 (0.67) and
a Half Power Beam Width (HPBW) of ~ 15.3 arcsec (+/- 0.3 arcsec) I therefore derive
an aperture efficiency3 of 55 +/- 2 %, equation (6) yields the following simple form for
the 2.5 m SOFIA telescope:
S (Jy) = 971 x TA* (K) or within errors ~ 1000 x TA* (K)
Normally we use Jy only for spatially unresolved sources, but we can also use relation (7)
to convert line intensities into W/m2, which maybe a more familiar unit for the far
infrared community. If we assume that the [CII] line we are observing is a Gaussian with
a Full With Half Maximum (FWHM) of = 5 km/s, i.e. 31.8 MHz, the integrated line
intensity is given by 1.065 x Tpeak x Δν, where Δν = 31.8 MHz. If we take Tpeak equal to
our rms antenna temperature, we find using Equation 7 that our 4 minute integration
therefore corresponds to a one sigma brightness limit of ~ 6.1 10-17 W/m2 for a 5 km/s
wide line observed with 1 km/s resolution. If we only aim for a detection, we can
probably degrade the resolution to 2 km/s. In this case we gain a square root of 2, and
therefore our one sigma detection limit is 4.3 10-17 W/m2.
When you are writing a proposal, you normally go the other way around. You have an
estimate how wide and how bright the line is expected to be, and you know what signal to
noise you need for your analysis. Let’s assume we want to observe the [CII] 158 µm line
The GREAT Time estimator ( gives ΔTR * =
0.18 K, for USB tuning, which agrees with what we get.
The beam efficiency is directly related to the aperture efficiency by the expression
ηmb/ηa = Ag x Ωmb/λ2, where Ωmb is the main beam solid angle and λ the wavelength we
observe at.
SOFIA/GREAT Observation Planning [Version 7, July 7, 2014]
in T Tauri, a young low-mass star. Podio et al. (2012, A&A, 545, A44) find a line
intensity of 7.5 10-16 W m-2 for the Herschel PACS observations, which are unresolved in
velocity (the PACS velocity resolution is ~ 240 km/s for [CII]). Here we want to velocity
resolve the line to see if it is outflow dominated or whether it is emitted from a
circumstellar disk or both. We therefore need a velocity resolution of 1 km/s or better. If
we assume that the line is outflow dominated with a FWHM of say 20 km/s (127.2 MHz;
little or no contribution from the circumstellar disk) we get a peak antenna temperature
(using equation 7) of 0.52 K or a radiation temperature TR* of 0.55 K. In this case we
want a SNR of at least 10 and a velocity resolution of 1 km/s or better. Let’s check
whether it is feasible. If we plug in the values we have in the GREAT time estimator
(assume 40 degrees elevation, standard atmosphere, and we fly at 41000 ft) or we can
estimate it from the equations given above.
With these assumptions ATRAN gives us an atmospheric transmission of 0.86 integrated
over the receiver band-pass. The L2 receiver temperature is 1100 K (DSB). Using
Equation 2, we find that the sky only adds 24.9 K to the system temperature and from
Equation 1 we therefore get Tsys = 2881 K. Since we want to reach a signal to noise of 10,
the rms antenna temperature ΔTA* = 0.052 K. We can now solve for the integration
time using Equation 4, where we set Δν = 6.338 MHz (1 km/s resolution). In this case t=
1937 sec or 32.3 min. The PACS observations show the emission to be compact, so we
can do the observations in Dual Beam Switch Mode, with a chop throw of 60 arcsecond.
Both Dual BMSW and position switch are currently estimated to have an overhead of
100% and a setup time for tuning and calibration of 2 minutes (which get added when
you enter the observations in SPT, the SOFIA proposal tool). Our observation would
therefore take 60 minutes, which is completely feasible. The GREAT exposure time
calculator gives t = 1930 sec. The difference is negligible.
Sensitivity for an on-the fly map:
Example: For a map of the [CII] line (Half Power Beam Width, HPBW ~ 15 arcsec), we
need to sample the beam about every 7 arcsec. If we read out the average once per
second, i.e we have a scan rate of 7 arcsec/second. To do a 3 arcmin scan will therefore
take 26 sec, resulting in 26 map points, let us make it 27, to get an odd number of points.
We therefore need to spend 5.2 seconds on the reference position. We ignore the time it
takes the telescope to slew to the next row and any time needed for calibration. For a 3
arcmin x 3 arcmin map, i.e. 27 x 27 positions with a cell size of 7 arcsec times 7 arcsec.
The integration time for each row is therefore 5.2 +27 seconds or 32.2 seconds/row. The
total integration time for the map is therefore 14.5 minutes. We definitely want to do one
repeat, so the total integration time is therefore 29 minutes. For on-the fly maps SPT
assumes a 100 % overhead and 2 minute setup for tuning and calibration. The total
duration of the 2 maps is therefore 61.9 minutes. Therefore a 3 arcmin x 3 arcmin map in
the [C II] line is entirely feasible.
SOFIA/GREAT Observation Planning [Version 7, July 7, 2014]
Our 3 by 3 arcmin2 map with one repeat has an integration time of 2 seconds per map
point4. However, since we critically sampled the map, each beam is covered by 3.6 data
points, which increases the sensitivity by a factor of 1.9. For typical observing conditions,
41000 feet, 30 degrees elevation, the GREAT time estimator gives us an rms
temperature/map point of 1.27 K for a velocity resolution of 1 km/s, corresponding to an
rms limit of 1.27 K/1.9 or ~0.7 K/beam.
The H-­‐channel The H-channel (offered on shared risk for cycle 3) is also included in the GREAT
exposure time calculator. Since the LO (local oscillator) only can be tuned to discrete
settings, there is no Doppler tracking and even with a 2.5 GHz instantaneous bandwidth
(158 km/s at the rest frequency of [OI]) the velocity coverage is limited to ~ 120 km/s.
The standard setting (LO offset 1.682 GHz) gives a velocity coverage from about -25 to
+90 km/s. Let us examine what this means in practice. Below I show a CO spectrum of
the young protostellar outflow source NGC2023mm1 and here I simply assume that we
could have an [OI] line centered at the same velocity with a similar shape.
Fig 2. Assumed [OI] spectrum using CO as a proxy. We would like to reach an rms level
of 0.2 K for a resolution of 1 km/s
Remember that the time estimator uses the total integration time (on+off). Here we
therefore have to use 4 second as integration time to investigate the sensitivity limit per
map point.
SOFIA/GREAT Observation Planning [Version 7, July 7, 2014]
Lets start up the GREAT exposure time calculator. The first thing we do is to click on the
observer VLSR link. Here we assume that we will observe NGC2023 on March 1, 2015
at UT 10. For observer latitude and longitude we choose Palmdale as our location (this is
not very critical); Latitude = 34.58, west longitude = 118.1. The source coordinates are
RA = 054124.9, DEC = -021808.5 and Equinox J2000. We work in topocentric reference
frame and enter 12500 as elevation. This gives us a solar motion Vlsr of 44.1 km/s,
which we have to add to the source Vlsr of 10 km/s. Suddenly our spectrum is centered at
+54 km/s and no longer in the center of the covered velocity range, see below:
Fig. 3. What the [OI] spectrum would look like if we observed it on March 1, 2015. Now
the observations are not feasible, because we have no baseline region on the red-shifted
side. We need at least at least 5 – 10 km/s free of emission on both sides to recover the
true shape of the spectrum. In reality the noise would also be higher close the band
What if we delayed the observations until December 2015. For Dec 1 the Doppler
correction is +10.4 km/s, and now it should be possible to observe NGC2023mm1, see
Figure 4. We can now proceed to estimate how long it will take us to reach an rms limit
of 0.1 K. If we assume that we observe at 41000 ft with an elevation of 45 degrees, the
time estimator gives an integration time of 1312 seconds (LSB tuning) or 22 minutes,
which is entirely feasible, see Figure 5, which shows the output from the exposure time
SOFIA/GREAT Observation Planning [Version 7, July 7, 2014]
Fig. 4. The same [OI] line for the standard LO setting, but now observed on December 1,
2015. Now the spectrum is well placed within the observable velocity range.
Fig 5.Above the output from the exposure time calculator is shown for the velocity setting
from Figure 4. The green line shows where the [OI] line is centered in the signal band,
while the blue line shows the center of the image band. The red line shows where the
image band would be if we were to place the line in the upper sideband, which would
result in much higher noise temperatures.
SOFIA/GREAT Observation Planning [Version 7, July 7, 2014]
If we have a source with negative VLSR, we can do the same kind of exercise, but now use
the alternative LO setting (offset 0 MHz). This gives us a usable velocity range from
-30 to -140 km/s. Other LO settings maybe possible. If you cannot work with either
setting, please check with the GREAT PI, Rolf Güsten, to see whether there is another
LO setting that might work.