The Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn carries the composite infrared spectrometer (CIRS) designed to study thermal emission from Saturn and its rings and moons. CIRS, a Fourier transform spectrometer, is an indispensable part of the payload providing unique measurements and important synergies with the other instruments. It takes full advantage of Cassini’s 13-year-long mission and surpasses the capabilities of previous spectrometers on Voyager 1 and 2. The instrument, consisting of two interferometers sharing a telescope and a scan mechanism, covers over a factor of 100 in wavelength in the mid and far infrared. It is used to study temperature, composition, structure, and dynamics of the atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn, and Titan, the rings of Saturn, and surfaces of the icy moons. CIRS has returned a large volume of scientific results, the culmination of over 30 years of instrument development, operation, data calibration, and analysis. As Cassini and CIRS reach the end of their mission in 2017, we expect that archived spectra will be used by scientists for many years to come.
© 2017 Optical Society of AmericaFull Article | PDF Article
22 June 2017: Corrections were made to Refs. 42 and 44.
OSA Recommended Articles
Conor A. Nixon, Nicholas A. Teanby, Simon B. Calcutt, Shahid Aslam, Donald E. Jennings, Virgil G. Kunde, F. Michael Flasar, Patrick G. Irwin, Fredric W. Taylor, David A. Glenar, and Michael D. Smith
Appl. Opt. 48(10) 1912-1925 (2009)
J. Brasunas, A. Mamoutkine, and N. Gorius
Appl. Opt. 55(17) 4699-4705 (2016)
Christopher R. Webster, Stanley P. Sander, Reinhard Beer, Randy D. May, Robert G. Knollenberg, Donald M. Hunten, and John Ballard
Appl. Opt. 29(7) 907-917 (1990)