Experimental Astronomy

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 161–174 | Cite as

Optimized Herschel/PACS photometer observing and data reduction strategies for moving solar system targets

  • C. KissEmail author
  • T. G. Müller
  • E. Vilenius
  • A. Pál
  • P. Santos-Sanz
  • E. Lellouch
  • G. Marton
  • E. Verebélyi
  • N. Szalai
  • P. Hartogh
  • J. Stansberry
  • F. Henry
  • A. Delsanti
Original Article


The “TNOs are Cool!: A survey of the trans-Neptunian region” is a Herschel Open Time Key Program that aims to characterize planetary bodies at the outskirts of the Solar System using PACS and SPIRE data, mostly taken as scan-maps. In this paper we summarize our PACS data reduction scheme that uses a modified version of the standard pipeline for basic data reduction, optimized for faint, moving targets. Due to the low flux density of our targets the observations are confusion noise limited or at least often affected by bright nearby background sources at 100 and 160 \(\mu \)m. To overcome these problems we developed techniques to characterize and eliminate the background at the positions of our targets and a background matching technique to compensate for pointing errors. We derive a variety of maps as science data products that are used depending on the source flux and background levels and the scientific purpose. Our techniques are also applicable to a wealth of other Herschel solar system photometric observations, e.g. comets and near-Earth asteroids. The principles of our observing strategies and reduction techniques for moving targets will also be applicable for similar surveys of future infrared space projects.


Instrumentation Detectors Herschel 



This work has been supported by the Hungarian Research Fund (OTKA) grant K 104607, the PECS-98073 grant of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Hungarian Space Office and the Bolyai Research Fellowship of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. E.V. acknowledges the support of the German DLR project # 50 OR 1108. The work of A.P. has been supported by the Lendületgrant # LP2012-31/2012 of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. We are indebted to the Herschel observation planning team for their enthusiastic work during the active phase of the program which has highly contributed to the great success of the observations. We also thank the referee for providing constructive comments and help in improving this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Kiss
    • 1
    Email author
  • T. G. Müller
    • 2
  • E. Vilenius
    • 2
  • A. Pál
    • 1
  • P. Santos-Sanz
    • 3
  • E. Lellouch
    • 4
  • G. Marton
    • 1
  • E. Verebélyi
    • 1
  • N. Szalai
    • 1
  • P. Hartogh
    • 5
  • J. Stansberry
    • 6
  • F. Henry
    • 4
  • A. Delsanti
    • 4
  1. 1.Konkoly Observatory, MTA CSFKBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische PhysikGarchingGermany
  3. 3.Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía–CSICGranadaSpain
  4. 4.LESIA, Observatoire de ParisMeudonFrance
  5. 5.Max-Planck-Institut für SonnensystemforschungKatlenburg-LindauGermany
  6. 6.Space Telescope Science InstituteBaltimoreUSA

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