Mid-IR polarimetry: New vistas for SOFIA

Christopher C. Packham, David J. Axon, James H. Hough, Terry J. Jones, Patrick F. Roche, Motohide Tamura, Charles M. Telesco

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


Mid-infrared polarimetry remains an underexploited technique; where available it is limited in spectral coverage from the ground, and conspicuously absent from both the Spitzer and JWST instrument suites. The unique characteristics of SOFIA affords unprecedented spectral coverage and sensitivity in the mid-infrared waveband, offering new vistas in the exploration of astrophysical objects, including (a) galaxies and AGN, (b) star formation regions and (c) debris disks. Furthering the existing 5-40μm imaging and spectroscopic capabilities of SOFIA, and the University of Florida's mid-IR imagers, spectrometer and Polarimeter designs of T-ReCS and CanariCam, we present an overview of science highlights that could be performed from a ∼5-40μm imaging- and spectro-polarimeter on SOFIA. A secondary science driver is the inclusion of low- to moderate- resolution (total flux) spectroscopy at these wavelengths. Such an instrument concept would plug an unfilled area of both SOFIA and space-based instrumentation, providing SOFIA with unique and exciting science capabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInfrared Spaceborne Remote Sensing and Instrumentation XV
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007
EventInfrared Spaceborne Remote Sensing and Instrumentation XV - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 27 2007Aug 30 2007

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherInfrared Spaceborne Remote Sensing and Instrumentation XV
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Airborne astronomy
  • Grain alignment
  • Imaging
  • Infrared
  • Instrumentation
  • Magnetic fields
  • Polarimetry
  • Polarization
  • Spectroscopy


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