Stellar-based calibration in the far infrared with application to iras band 4

D. J. Kirby, G. H. Rieke, L. A. Lebofsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Because stars emit very small portions of their outputs in the far infrared, using them as calibrators requires precise measurement and correction for filter leaks at shorter wavelengths. Therefore, it is common to base far infrared calibrations on planetary objects such as asteroids. However, asteroids are complex geological bodies whose thermal properties depend on their evolutionary histories as well as on their gross parameters such as mass and composition, making them difficult to model as calibrators. We propose a new method for measuring filter leaks that can be carried out using the end-to-end detector system and therefore allows reliable use of stellar calibrators. We illustrate this method by showing that the IRAS 100 μm (Band 4) filters had a short wavelength leak of 14.3%±3.6% on stars similar to α Boo, but that there is no detectable leak in the 60 μm (Band 3) filters. We derive a calibration for Band 4 from stellar colors in a way that is closely analogous to the calibrations of Bands 1, 2, and 3. With correction for the leak, the stellar-based calibration is virtually identical to the original calibration based on asteroids; this result requires that the spectra of the asteroids used for the original calibration differ from greybody behavior between 60 and 100 μm by about 10%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2226-2232
Number of pages7
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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