5 March 2003 PRIME: probing the very early universe
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Abstract
PRIME (The Primordial Explorer) is a proposed Explorer-class mission. It will carry out a deep sky survey from space in four near-infrared bands between ~0.9-3.5 μm. It surveys a quarter of the sky to AB magnitude of ~24, which is ~600 times deeper than 2MASS and ~ five million times deeper than COBE at long wavelengths. Deeper surveys in selected sky regions are also planned. PRIME will reach an epoch during which the first quasars, galaxies and clusters of galaxies were formed in the early universe, map the large-scale structure of the dark matter, discover Type-Ia supernovae to be used in measuring the acceleration of the expanding universe, and detect thousands of brown dwarfs and even Jupiter-size planets in the vicinity of the solar system. Most of these objects are so rare that they may be identified only in large and deep surveys. PRIME will serve as the precursor for the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST), supplying rare targets for its spectroscopy and deep imaging. It is more than capable of providing targets for the largest ground-based telescopes (10-30m). Combining PRIME with other surveys (SDSS, GALEX) will yield the largest astronomical database ever built.
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Wei Zheng, Holland C. Ford, Jeffrey W. Kruk, Zlatan I. Tsvetanov, Alexander Szalay, George F. Hartig, Hervey S. Stockman, Marc Postman, G. Mark Voit, Peter K. Shu, Matthew A. Greenhouse, Hans-Walter Rix, Rainer Lenzen, Steven M. Kent, Christopher Stoughton, Alain Omont, Yannick Mellier, "PRIME: probing the very early universe", Proc. SPIE 4850, IR Space Telescopes and Instruments, (5 March 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.461927; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.461927
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