``Slow-scanning'' in ground-based mid-infrared observations


Chopping observations with a tip-tilt secondary mirror have conventionally been used in ground-based mid-infrared observations. However, it is not practical for next generation large telescopes to have a large tip-tilt mirror that moves at a frequency larger than a few hertz. We propose an alternative observing method, a “slow-scanning” observation. Images are continuously captured as movie data, while the field of view is slowly moved. The signal from an astronomical object is extracted from the movie data by a low-rank and sparse matrix decomposition. The performance of the “slow-scanning” observation was tested in an experimental observation with Subaru/COMICS. The quality of a resultant image in the “slow-scanning” observation was as good as in a conventional chopping observation with COMICS, at least for a bright point-source object. The observational efficiency in the “slow-scanning” observation was better than that in the chopping observation. The results suggest that the “slow-scanning” observation can be a competitive method for the Subaru telescope and be of potential interest to other ground-based facilities to avoid chopping.

The Astrophysical Journal