The Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS
) was installed aboard HST
in February 1997. This scientific instrument provides ultraviolet and optical spectroscopy and imaging through three channels. STIS can be used to obtain spatially resolved, long-slit (or slitless) spectroscopy over the 1150 Å to 10,300 Å wavelength range with spectral resolving power from R ~ 500 to 17,500. It can also be used to perform echelle spectroscopy over the 1150 Å - 3100 Å wavelength range at spectral resolving powers of R ~ 30,000 to 114,000, covering broad spectral ranges of Δλ
~ 800 Å and 200 Å, respectively. STIS can also be used for optical and solar-blind ultraviolet imaging. Three detectors, each with a 1024 x 1024 pixel format, support spectroscopy and imaging as follows:
The MAMA detectors can be used in ACCUM
modes, with the latter supporting time-resolutions down to 125 microseconds. The STIS/CCD can be cycled in ~20 seconds when using small subarrays. The CCD and the MAMAs also provide coronagraphic spectroscopy in the visible and ultraviolet. Coronagraphic CCD imaging is also available. Each of the STIS detectors can also be used for imaging observations, however, only limited filter choices are available.
However, the STIS CCD has continued to accumulate radiation damage. The mean STIS CCD dark current is estimated to be 0.019 e-
/pixel/s during Cycle 23. Charge transfer efficiency (CTE) declines can also have a strong effect on faint sources observed with the STIS CCD. Users should remember that the STIS ETC does not correct for CTE losses. They can determine the loss due to CTE using the formula described in the STIS Instrument Handbook
CTE effects also produce extended “tails” on hot pixels and cosmic rays that degrade images and spectra, creating an additional source of noise. See STIS ISR 2011-02
for a description of how this can affect STIS CCD data. Use of the E1 aperture positions which place STIS spectra closer to the CCD readout edge will substantially mitigate CTE effects and is strongly recommended for faint targets.
STIS has three newly-supported neutral density filtered slits for use with first order and echelle observations. These three apertures, 31X0.05NDA
, and 31X0.05NDC
, provide attenuation factors of 6X, 14X, and 33X, respectively. See the STIS Instrument Handbook
for more information on the basic properties of these apertures.