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Paper: The Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite
Volume: 73, Airborne Astronomy Symposium on the Galactic Ecosystem: From Gas to Stars to Dust
Page: 673
Authors: Melnick, Gary J.
Abstract: The Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite (SWAS) mission is dedicated to the study of star formation and interstellar chemistry. To carry out this mission, SWAS will survey dense (n(sub H2) greater than 10(exp 3) cm(exp -3)) molecular clouds within our galaxy in either the ground-state of a low-lying transition of five astrophysically important species: H2O, H2O-18, O2, CI, and CO-13. By observing these lines SWAS will: (1) test long-standing theories that predict that these species are the dominant coolants of molecular clouds during the early stages of their collapse to form stars and planets, and (2) supply heretofore missing information about the abundanceof key species central to the chemical models of dense interstellar gas. SWAS will employ two independent Schottky barrier diode mixers, passively cooled to approx. 150 K, coupled to a highly efficient 54 x 68 cm off-axis Cassegrain antenna. During its two year mission, SWAS will observe giant and dark cloud cores with the goal of detecting or setting an upper limit on the water abundance of 3 x 10(exp -6) and on th molecular oxygen abundances of 2 x 10(exp -6), both relative to H2. In addition, advantage will be taken of SWAS's relatively large beamsize of 3.2 x 4.0 arcminutes at 551 GHz and 3.6 x 4.5 arcminutes at 492 GHz to obtain large-area (approx. 1 deg x 1 deg) maps of giant and dark clouds in the CO-13 and CI lines. SWAS is scheduled for launch in mid-1995.
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