HARPACSIS: A submillimetre spectral imaging system on the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope

J. V. Buckle, R. E. Hills, H. Smith, W. R.F. Dent, G. Bell, E. I. Curtis, R. Dace, H. Gibson, S. F. Graves, J. Leech, J. S. Richer, R. Williamson, S. Withington, G. Yassin, R. Bennett, P. Hastings, I. Laidlaw, J. F. Lightfoot, T. Burgess, P. E. DewdneyG. Hovey, A. G. Willis, R. Redman, B. Wooff, D. S. Berry, B. Cavanagh, G. R. Davis, J. Dempsey, P. Friberg, T. Jenness, R. Kackley, N. P. Rees, R. Tilanus, C. Walther, W. Zwart, T. M. Klapwijk, M. Kroug, T. Zijlstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

202 Scopus citations


This paper describes a new Heterodyne Array Receiver Program (HARP) and Auto-Correlation Spectral Imaging System (ACSIS) that have recently been installed and commissioned on the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope. The 16-element focal-plane array receiver, operating in the submillimetre from 325 to 375 GHz, offers high (three-dimensional) mapping speeds, along with significant improvements over single-detector counterparts in calibration and image quality. Receiver temperatures are ∼120 K across the whole band, and system temperatures of ∼300 K are reached routinely under good weather conditions. The system includes a single-sideband (SSB) filter so these are SSB values. Used in conjunction with ACSIS, the system can produce large-scale maps rapidly, in one or more frequency settings, at high spatial and spectral resolution. Fully sampled maps of size can be observed in under 1 h. The scientific need for array receivers arises from the requirement for programmes to study samples of objects of statistically significant size, in large-scale unbiased surveys of galactic and extra-galactic regions. Along with morphological information, the new spectral imaging system can be used to study the physical and chemical properties of regions of interest. Its three-dimensional imaging capabilities are critical for research into turbulence and dynamics. In addition, HARPACSIS will provide highly complementary science programmes to wide-field continuum studies and produce the essential preparatory work for submillimetre interferometers such as the Submillimeter Array (SMA) and Atacama Large MillimeterSubmillimeter Array (ALMA).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1026-1043
Number of pages18
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Instrumentation: detectors
  • Instrumentation: spectrographs
  • Methods: observational
  • Submillimetre
  • Techniques: image processing
  • Techniques: spectroscopic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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