5.3 Observing Modes

The high sky background in the far infrared requires careful subtraction. That is achieved by chopping with SOFIA's secondary mirror and by nodding the telescope. The secondary will chop at 2Hz to efficiently remove the sky emission. To remove residual background not canceled by chopping, the telescope is nodded typically every 30s either to move the source to the other chop-beam or to an off-position. Since the instrument telescope communications and the telescope move take 10 s, a whole nod-cycle takes typically 80 s."

The following sections describe the possible observing modes. In the discussion of the overheads, $N$ is the number of map positions and ton is the on-source exposure time per map position. The main driver to choose the observing mode is to figure out possible chop configuration. However, the details like the exact chop throw and angle and other observing details do not need to be fixed until phase II of the proposal process. Information on how all the parameters for each mode has to be entered into SSPOT during phase II of the proposal process can be found on the Cycle 4, Phase II web page.

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