The first year (December 2015 to November 2016) of IR2 after Akatsuki's successful insertion to an elongated elliptical orbit around Venus is reported with performance evaluation and results of data acquisition. The single-stage Stirling-cycle cryo-cooler of IR2 has been operated with various driving voltages to achieve the best possible cooling under the given thermal environment. A total of 3091 images of Venus (1420 dayside images at 2.02 μm and 1671 night-side images at 1.735, 2.26, and 2.32 μm) were acquired in this period. Additionally, 159 images, including images of stars for calibration and dark images for the evaluation of noise levels, were captured. Low-frequency flat images (not available in pre-launch calibration data) have been constructed using the images of Venus acquired from near the pericenter to establish the procedure to correct for the IR2 flat-field response. It was noticed that multiple reflections of infrared light in the PtSi detector caused a weak but extended tail of the point-spread function (PSF), contaminating the night-side disk of Venus with light from the much brighter dayside crescent. This necessitated the construction of an empirical PSF to remove this contamination and also to improve the dayside data by deconvolution, and this work is also discussed. Detailed astrometry is performed on star-field images in the H-band (1.65 μm), hereby confirming that the geometrical distortion of IR2 images is negligible.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Space and Planetary Science