www.sron.nl/122-hifi2/hifi.html

09-07-2014
sron-annual-magazine-2012-2013

SRON annual magazine 2012-2013

Welcome to the first digital annual magazine from SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research. In words and images this magazine provides an overview of the most important developments, scientific highlights, technological breakthroughs and new instruments in 2012 and 2013.         More
02-07-2014
jelle-kaastra-appointed-professor-at-leiden-university

Jelle Kaastra appointed honorary professor at Leiden University

SRON-researcher Jelle Kaastra has been appointed honorary professor of High Energy Astrophysics at Leiden University. The appointment is per 1 April 2014.         Read more (in dutch)
01-07-2014
stellar-wind

Herschel-HIFI solve meteorite mystery

A team of astronomers, including Carsten Dominik (UvA), has found a possible explanantion for the presence of a certain chemical element in meteorites. By using the Herschel space telescope (ESA) they found a star nursery with a radically different chemical proportions than in any known embryonic star. This is probably caused by a mighty, energetic stellar wind. Such a wind may also have been active around our own Sun, 4,5 billion years ago.         Read more (in dutch)
30-06-2014
selection-x-ray-telescope-good-news-for-the-netherlands

Selection X-ray telescope good news for the Netherlands

The European space agency ESA has selected Athena as upcoming large mission after JUICE. Athena is a big X-ray telescope which will study hot matter and black holes in the universe, among other things. This is very good news for both Dutch space research and industry, because Athena will be equipped with a lot of Dutch space technology. And Dutch astronomers will be important players in the scientific field as well. This means that in the decade to come the Netherlands will be able to operate in the front line of international space research.        Read more (in dutch)
19-06-2014
swiftly-moving-gas-streamer-eclipses-supermassive-black-hole

Swiftly moving gas streamer eclipses supermassive black hole

An international team of astronomers has discovered that the supermassive black hole at the heart of the galaxy NGC 5548 has recently undergone strange, unexpected behavior rarely seen in the heart of active galaxies. The researchers detected a clumpy gas stream flowing quickly outward and blocking 90 percent of the X-rays emitted by the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy. This activity may provide new insights into the interaction of supermassive black holes and their host galaxies. The results have been published today in Science magazine.               More

Home

Search documents

Document number release

Post operations

Documents

Summary

HIFI's superb spectral resolution coupled with its ability to observe thousands of molecular, atomic and ionic lines at submillimeter wavelengths make it the instrument of choice to address many of the key  questions in modern astrophysics related to the cyclic interaction of stars and the interstellar medium:
  1. HIFI will probe the physics, kinematics and energetics of star forming regions through their cooling lines, including H2O, the major coolant.
  2. HIFI will survey the molecular inventory of such diverse regions as shocked molecular clouds, dense Photon-Dominated Regions (PDRs), diffuse atomic clouds, Hot Cores and proto-planetary disks around newly formed stars, winds from dying stars and toroids interacting with AGN engines.
  3. HIFI is uniquely suited to search for low-lying ro-vibrational transitions of complex species such as PAHs and, thus, to investigate the origin and evolution of the molecular universe.
  4. HIFI can provide the out-gassing rate of comets through H2O rotational lines and determine the vertical distribution of H2O in the giant planets and on Mars.
  5. HIFI can measure the mass-loss history of stars which, rather than nuclear burning, regulates stellar evolution after the main sequence, and dominates the gas and dust mass balance of the ISM.
  6. HIFI will measure the FIR line spectrum of nearby galaxies as templates for distant, possibly primordial galaxies.

The main reason to build HIFI was because the above sketched science cannot be done from the ground, since atmospheric water lines block all radiation coming from space. On the right plots are given of the atmospheric transmission.

HIFI is optimised to address the astronomical key questions given above. All of these require high spectral resolving powers and sensitivity. Combining the high spectral resolving power of the radio heterodyne technique with quantum-noise limited detection from superconductor physics and state-of-the-art microwave technology, has made it possible to develop an instrument with a continuous frequency coverage from 480 to 1250 GHz in five bands, plus a sixth band providing coverage for 1410-1910 GHz at an unrivalled spectral resolution and ultimate sensitivity. This instrument is able to perform rapid and complecte spectral line surveys with resolving powers from 103 up to 107 (300 - 0.03 km/s) and deep line observations.

HIFI Band

1

2

3

4

5

6

Coverage (GHz)

480-
640

640-
800

800-
960

960-
1120

1120-
1250

1410-
1910

Half Power
Beamwidth
(arcsec)

39

30

25

21

19

13

Rec. Noise
(DSB) in K
Baseline values

110

145

175

210

370

800