Calibration and data quality of warm IRAC
We present an overview of the calibration and properties of data from the IRAC instrument aboard the Spitzer Space Telescope taken after the depletion of cryogen. The cryogen depleted on 15 May 2009, and shortly afterward a two-month- long calibration and characterization campaign was conducted. The array temperature and bias setpoints were revised on 19 September 2009 to take advantage of lower than expected power dissipation by the instrument and to improve sensitivity. The final operating temperature of the arrays is 28.7 K, the applied bias across each detector is 500 mV and the equilibrium temperature of the instrument chamber is 27.55 K. The final sensitivities are essentially the same as the cryogenic mission with the 3.6 μm array being slightly less sensitive (10%) and the 4.5 μm array within 5% of the cryogenic sensitivity. The current absolute photometric uncertainties are 4% at 3.6 and 4.5 μm, and better than milli-mag photometry is achievable for long-stare photometric observations. With continued analysis, we expect the absolute calibration to improve to the cryogenic value of 3%. Warm IRAC operations fully support all science that was conducted in the cryogenic mission and all currently planned warm science projects (including Exploration Science programs). We expect that IRAC will continue to make ground-breaking discoveries in star formation, the nature of the early universe, and in our understanding of the properties of exoplanets.
Additional Information© 2010 SPIE. The authors acknowledge the efforts of our colleagues in the IRAC instrument and instrument support teams in maintaining and characterizing the IRAC instrument as well as the operations teams at the Spitzer Science Center, JPL and Lockheed Martin. This work is based on observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology under a contract with NASA. Support for this work was provided by NASA through an award issued by JPL/Caltech.