HAWC - The Facility Far-Infrared  Camera for SOFIA

HAWC (High-resolution Airborne Widebandwidth Camera) is the facility Far-Infrared camera for SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy. The camera is a project of the University of Chicago, with Doyal (Al) A. Harper as the Principal Investigator, in collaboration with Goddard Space Flight Center and Rochester Institute of Technology.

When SOFIA enters operation, it will be the largest far-infrared telescope available, so it will have the best intrinsic angular resolution. HAWC is a far-infrared camera designed to cover the 40-300 micron spectral range at the highest possible angular resolution. Its purpose is to provide a sensitive, versatile, and reliable facility-imaging capability for SOFIA's user community during its first operational years.

HAWC will utilize a 12 x 32 array of bolometer detectors constructed using the ion-implanted silicon pop-up detector technology being developed at Goddard Space Flight Center. This new technology enables construction of close-packed, two-dimensional arrays of bolometers with high quantum efficiency and area filling factors of greater than 95%. The array will be cooled by an adiabatic demagnetization refrigerator and operated at a temperature of 0.2 K.

HAWC data processing software will be developed within the context of an Observatory-wide "data-cycle system" which will provide an integrated environment for proposal preparation, flight planning, data processing, calibration, analysis, and archiving.

Here is a picture of the camera under construction in the Yerkes lab in Feb. 2004: