Abstract

In order to observe extended astronomical objects at high spatial and spectral resolution, we have constructed a spectroscopic photoelectric imaging Fabry-Perot interferometer (SPIFI). Among the properties chosen for the instrument are an air-spaced, piezoelectrically scanned design allowing an accurately settable free spectral range and employing a single etalon of high finesse. Careful design of the etalon mountings and optical train preserves high light throughput. We either obtain spectra of single spatial elements with a photomultiplier or use an SEC vidicon detector to record a series of images through the interferometer while scanning the wavelength in discrete steps. The latter procedure yields sufficient information to reconstruct spectral features over the entire object. For the conditions assumed, either series of observations requires only a small fraction of a rotational period for Jupiter or Saturn, for example. We have also constructed an electronic control system that permits rapid and flexible variation of the operational mode of the Fabry-Perot and its ancilliary devices so as to minimize loss of observational time. Finally, observational data are presented that demonstrate the degree to which we have achieved our design goals.

© 1976 Optical Society of America

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