Measuring NIR Atmospheric Extinction Using a Global Positioning System Receiver

Дата и время публикации : 2011-09-30T02:38:38Z

Авторы публикации и институты :
Cullen H. Blake
Margaret M. Shaw

Ссылка на журнал-издание: Ссылка на журнал-издание не найдена
Коментарии к cтатье: 19 pages, 9 figures. Accepted for publication in PASP
Первичная категория: astro-ph.IM

Все категории : astro-ph.IM

Краткий обзор статьи: Modeling molecular absorption by Earth’s atmosphere is important for a wide range of astronomical observations, including broadband NIR photometry and high-resolution NIR spectroscopy. Using a line-by-line radiative transfer approach, we calculate theoretical transmission spectra in the deep red optical (700 to 1050 nm) for Apache Point Observatory. In this region the spectrum is dominated by H2O, which is known to be highly variable in concentration on short timescales. We fit our telluric models to high-resolution observations of A stars and estimate the relative optical depth of H2O absorption under a wide range of observing conditions. We compare these optical depth estimates to simultaneous measurements of Precipitable Water Vapor (PWV) based on data from a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver located at Apache Point. We find that measured PWV correlates strongly with the scaling of H2O absorption lines in our spectra, indicating that GPS-based PWV measurements combined with atmospheric models may be a powerful tool for the real-time estimation of total molecular absorption in broad NIR bands. Using photometric measurements from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) DR8 database we demonstrate that PWV biases the calibrated r-z colors and z-band fluxes of mid-M stars but not mid-G stars. While this effect is small compared to other sources of noise in the SDSS z-band observations, future surveys like the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope aim for higher precision and will need to take time-variable molecular transmission into account for the global calibration of NIR measurements of objects having strong spectral features at these wavelengths. Empirical calibrations based on PWV may be immediately applicable to ongoing efforts to make mmag differential measurements of M stars to detect transiting exoplanets.

Category: Physics