SHARP: The SHARC-II polarimeter for CSO

H. Li*, M. Attard, C. D. Dowell, R. H. Hildebrand, M. Houde, L. Kirby, G. Novak, J. E. Vaillancourt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


SHARC-II is a 32 × 12 pixel submillimeter camera that is used with the ten-meter diameter Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO) on Mauna Kea. This camera can be operated at either 350 or 450 microns. We developed a module that is installed at the CSO Nasmyth focus in order to convert SHARC-II into a sensitive imaging polarimeter, which we refer to as "SHARP". SHARP splits the incident beam into two orthogonally polarized beams that are then re-imaged onto different halves of the SHARC-II bolometer array. When this removable polarimetry module is in use, SHARC-II becomes a dual-beam 12 × 12 pixel polarimeter. Sky noise is a significant source of error for submillimeter continuum observations. Because SHARP simultaneously observes two orthogonal polarization components, we are able to eliminate or greatly reduce this source of error. Here we describe the design of SHARP and report preliminary results of tests and observations carried out during our first two runs at CSO in August 2005 and January 2006.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMillimeter and Submillimeter Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy III
StatePublished - 2006
EventMillimeter and Submillimeter Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy III - Orlando, FL, United States
Duration: May 29 2006May 31 2006

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherMillimeter and Submillimeter Detectors and Instrumentation for Astronomy III
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOrlando, FL


  • Polarimeter
  • Submillimeter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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