Optimal resolutions for IR spectroscopy through the OH Airglow

Paul Martini and D.L. DePoy 2000, Proceedings of the SPIE, 4008, in press

The OH airglow emission lines are the dominant source of background emission in the near-infrared J and H bandpasses. In principle, these emission lines can be avoided by observing at sufficiently high spectral resolution, rejecting pixels contaminated by OH lines, and rebinning to the desired resolution. Two trade-offs to this approach are non-negligible detector noise per pixel and the added expense of instrumentation with higher resolution. In this contribution, we simulate various observed and desired resolutions as a function of detector noise and target brightness to develop a set of guidelines for the optimal resolution in a variety of observing programs. As a general rule, observing at a 2-pixel resolution of 2000 - 4000 provides optimal OH rejection for a wide range of detector noise and source signal.

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