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Published July 14, 2016 | Submitted
Journal Article Open

Spatial and Temporal Stability of Airglow Measured in the Meinel Band Window at 1191.3 nm


We report on the temporal and spatial fluctuations in the atmospheric brightness in the narrow band between Meinel emission lines at 1191.3 nm using a λ/Δλ = 320 near-infrared instrument. We present the instrument design and implementation, followed by a detailed analysis of data taken over the course of a night from Table Mountain Observatory. At low airmasses, the absolute sky brightness at this wavelength is found to be 5330 ± 30 nW m^(−2) sr^(−1), consistent with previous measurements of the inter-band airglow at these wavelengths. This amplitude is larger than simple models of the continuum component of the airglow emission at these wavelengths, confirming that an extra emissive or scattering component is required to explain the observations. We perform a detailed investigation of the noise properties of the data and find no evidence for a noise component associated with temporal instability in the inter-line continuum. This result demonstrates that in several hours of ~100 s integrations the noise performance of the instrument does not appear to significantly degrade from expectations, giving a proof of concept that near-infrared line intensity mapping may be feasible from ground-based sites.

Additional Information

© 2016 The Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Received 2016 January 11; accepted 2016 January 31; published 2016 July 14. The authors wish to thank Jaime Luna for his help designing the LAMP mechanical assembly, Heath Rhoades at JPLʼs Table Mountain Observatory for his assistance setting up the instrument and guidance using the 24″ telescope, and the Gemini Observatory for making their sky model tables public. The development of LAMP was supported by the JPL Research and Technology Development Fund. This publication makes use of data products from the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS), which is a joint project of the University of Massachusetts and the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation.

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