High-resolution Airborne Wide-band Camera (HAWC+) is the facility far-infrared imager and polarimeter for SOFIA, NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy. It is designed to cover the portion of the infrared spectrum that is completely inaccessible to ground-based observatories and which is essential for studies of astronomical sources with temperatures between tens and hundreds of degrees Kelvin. Its ability to make polarimetric measurements of aligned dust grains provides a unique new capability for studying interstellar magnetic fields. HAWC+ began commissioning flights in April 2016 and was accepted as a facility instrument in early 2018. In this paper, we describe the instrument, its operational procedures, and its performance on the observatory.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics