Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Proposed to both the French and the European Space Agency as one possible small mission, SPICE is a project for a dedicated small satellite for a near-IR spectroscopic all-sky survey. The instrument would cover the spectral range 1.8 - 3.6µm, possibly extended to 1.8 - 7µm, at a resolution of ≈ 100, with pixels of 1 arc-min. The excellent sensitivity (0.02 MJy sr-1) results from: i) the quasi-zero level of background due to the efficient passive cooling of the whole experiment; ii) the use of large format arrays; iii) the non-stop observing mode (drift-scanning). The spectral domain, complementing the one of ISO, partially opaque from the ground, is specially rich in spectral features tracing stars and all components of the Interstellar Medium (molecular, atomic and ionized gas, dust). With a cooling below 80 K of the focal instrument, then it becomes possible to consider doubling the spectral domain and to cover the whole 1.8 - 7µm range.
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