Field-Imaging Far-Infrared Line Spectrometer
FIFI-LS is a fist generation Science Instrument for the flying infrared observatory SOFIA a collaborative project of NASA and the DLR. The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy is a highly modified Boeing 747 airplane. It carries a 2.7 m telescope to high altitudes to enable astronomical observations of infrared radiation that are not possible form the earth’s surface. FIFI-LS is currently one
of two German instruments. It was developed and mainly integrated at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching and is now prepared for its first flight here in Stuttgart. The instrument will be deployed aboard SOFIA in the beginning of 2014.
FIFI-LS stands for Field- Imaging Far- Infrared Line- Spectrometer. The instrument can record spectra for each pixel of its 5x5 field of view per detector simultaneously. In addition FIFI-LS has two independent wavelength channels. The incoming signal is split up in two channels:
- the short wavelength channel from 51 to 120 microns
- the long wavelength channel from 115 to 203 microns.
This range contains a lot of astronomically interesting spectral lines. Measuring the
intensities of these lines in specific areas of the sky – e.g. in the spiral arms of a galaxy –
returns information on the physical properties (e.g. pressure, temperature) or the chemical
composition of these areas. This data is the basis to improve our knowledge of the formation of
stars and galaxies.