The Next Generation of Thermal-IR Astronomy: How can we Reach the Photon Noise Limit?

12 - 16 November 2018

Venue: Lorentz Center@Snellius

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Astronomical observations in the thermal infrared wavelength regime (3-26 micron) provide a powerful tool to discover and characterise the most obscured sources in the universe. Thermal-IR instruments serve a broad range of astronomical disciplines from proto-planetary disks, the building blocks of planets, to active galactic nuclei, the surroundings of accreting supermassive black holes. The thermal-IR is also the wavelength of choice to characterise exoplanet atmospheric composition and motions, and perhaps even probe Earth-like exoplanet atmospheres. However, observations in the thermal infrared are very challenging due to the bright background by the telescope and atmosphere and require exquisite calibration techniques in order to enable these cutting-edge research themes.

The goal of this workshop is to develop a conclusive accounting of the sources of systematic uncertainties in astronomical thermal-IR observations with a special emphasis on the subtraction of thermal background. We aim to discuss their quantitative impact, and ways to minimise them both in the design of instrument and telescopes, observing techniques, and in the post-processing of data.


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