There is a growing interest in lunar exploration fed by the perception that the Moon can be made accessible to low-cost missions in the next decade. The ongoing projects to set a communications relay in lunar orbit and a deep space gateway, as well as the spreading of commercial-of-the shelf technology for small space platforms such as the cubesats contribute to this perception. Small, cubesat size satellites orbiting the Moon offer ample opportunities to study the Moon and enjoy an advantage point to monitor the Solar System and the large-scale interaction between the Earth and the solar wind. We describe the technical characteristics of a 12U cubesat to be set in polar lunar orbit for this purpose and the science behind it. The mission is named Earth as an exoplanet (EarthASAP) and is submitted to the Lunar Cubesats for Exploration call in 2016. EarthASAP is designed to monitor hydrated rock reservoirs in the lunar poles and to study the interaction between the large Earth’s exosphere and the solar wind in preparation for future exoplanetary missions.
POLLUX is a high-resolution, UV spectropolarimeter proposed for the 15-meter primary mirror option of LUVOIR1 . The instrument Phase 0 study is supported by the French Space Agency (CNES) and performed by a consortium of European scientists. POLLUX has been designed to deliver high-resolution spectroscopy (R ≥ 120,000) over a broad spectral range (90-390 nm). Its unique spectropolarimetric capabilities will open-up a vast new parameter space, in particular in the unexplored UV domain and in a regime where high-resolution observations with current facilities in the visible domain are severely photon starved. POLLUX will address a range of questions at the core of the LUVOIR Science portfolio. The combination of high resolution and broad coverage of the UV bandpass will resolve narrow UV emission and absorption lines originating in diffuse media, thus permitting the study of the baryon cycle over cosmic time: from galaxies forming stars out of interstellar gas and grains, and stars forming planets, to the various forms of feedback into the interstellar and intergalactic medium (ISM and IGM), and active galactic nuclei (AGN). UV circular and linear polarimetry will reveal the magnetic fields for a wide variety of objects for the first time, from AGN outflows to a diverse range of stars, stellar explosions (both supernovae and their remnants), the ISM and IGM. It will enable detection of polarized light reflected from exoplanets (or their circumplanetary material and moons), characterization of the magnetospheres of stars and planets (and their interactions), and measurements of the influence of magnetic fields at the (inter)galactic scale. In this paper, we outline the key science cases of POLLUX, together with its high-level technical requirements. The instrument design, its estimated performances, and the required technology development are presented in a separated proceeding2 .
The World Space Observatory, Ultraviolet (WSO-UV), is a Russian-Spanish space mission born as a response to the growing up demand for UV facilities by the astronomical community. It is the only 2-meter class on-orbit telescope in the after-HST epoch fully devoted to UV observations in the spectral domain of 115-310 nm. This paper provides an information on instrumentation status in 2018 and on the forthcoming Call for the Core Program application.
The WSO-UV project is an efficient multipurpose orbital observatory for high sensitivity imaging. The imaging instrument Field Camera Unit (FCU) onboard WSO-UV will be the first UV camera to be flown to a geosynchronous orbit. The observatory is planned to operate for at least five years and perhaps longer. WSO-UV will open new opportunities in planetary science, stellar astrophysics, extragalactic astronomy and cosmology. This paper provides an information on updated FCU instrument.
The space mission Arago is proposed as a candidate to ESA’s Cosmic Vision M5 call by the UVMag consortium. Arago is dedicated to the study of the dynamic 3D environment of stars and planets. Thanks to a high-resolution UV and visible spectropolarimeter, the instrument will detect and characterize the magnetic fields of the stars, their environment and its impact on exoplanets. Scientific requirements impose a wide spectral range from 119 to 888 nm with a single full-Stokes polarimeter followed by two high-resolution spectrographs. To achieve these stringent specifications, a polychromatic concept of polarimeter has been studied and tested thanks to a R and T study funded by CNES. Using an optimized combination of Magnesium Fluoride plates followed by a polarization analyzer, it measures all four Stokes parameters with a constant efficiency over the spectral range. This is performed with a sequence of 6 sub-exposures acquired with different plate angles. The two orthogonal polarized beams coming out of the polarimeter feed two spectrographs. The UV spectrograph has a spectral resolution of at least 25000 over its spectral range, while the visible spectrograph works at least at 35000. Finally, to image the high-resolution spectra, a CCD detector and a MCP were chosen for the visible and UV arms of the instrument respectively.
This paper describes the complete optical design of Arago’s instrument, as proposed to ESA as an answer to its M5 call, from the 1.3-m diameter telescope to the detectors. The design of the polarimeter is presented as well as the unusual way of demodulating the polarization information, in order to have a polychromatic polarimeter working with the same efficiency from FUV to NIR. The optical design of the UV and visible échelle spectrographs and their detection chains are also presented, as well as the achieved performances.
The World Space Observatory Ultraviolet telescope is equipped with high dispersion (55,000) spectrographs working in the 1150 to 3100 Å spectral range. To evaluate the impact of the design on the scientific objectives of the mission, a simulation software tool has been developed. This simulator builds on the development made for the PLATO space mission and it is designed to generate synthetic time-series of images by including models of all important noise sources. We describe its design and performance. Moreover, its application to the detectability of important spectral features for star formation and exoplanetary research is addressed.
The solutions to a number of astrophysical problems require access to the ultraviolet, optical, and infrared from space-based facilities, with capabilities beyond those available with Hubble Space Telescope or James Webb Space Telescope. A large ultraviolet-optical-infrared telescope will need to have a large collecting area and milliarcsecond angular resolution capabilities plus highly efficient instruments, providing a revolutionary enhancement in capability. During 2013, the European astronomical community was involved in an exercise to outline the big science that could be achieved with such a facility; the proposal was called EUVO (as per European Ultraviolet-Visible Observatory). Inspired by that work, we describe a proposal on future science and instrumentation to be carried out with a 10-m class telescope.
The WSO-UV (World Space Observatory - Ultraviolet) project is intended to built and operate an international space observatory designed for observations in the UV (115 – 310 nm) range, where some of the most important astrophysical processes can be efficiently studied. It is the solution to the problem of future access to UV spectroscopy. Dedicated to spectroscopic and imaging observations of the ultraviolet sky, the World Space Observatory - Ultraviolet mission is a Russian-Spanish collaboration with potential Mexican minor contribution. This paper provides a summary on the project, its status and the major outcomes since the last SPIE meeting.
In this contribution, we describe the optical design of UVESP, an efficient instrument designed for mid resolution (30.000) spectropolarimetric observations in the 119-888nm wavelength range. Spectropolarimetry introduces challenging constraints in the image quality of the echellé design that are addressed via the introduction special optical elements. UVESP design is significantly optimized with respect to previous similar instruments, such as the spectrograph proposed for the UVMag mission, and it is the current baseline spectropolarimeter for the ARAGO mission.
The performance of the WUVS (WSO-UV Spectrographs) can be evaluated through simulations of the expected observations. Here we discuss the implementation details and the noise models applied in the simulation software tool developed to carry on these simulations. The WUVS Simulator has been implemented as a further development of the PLATO Simulator, adapting it to the WUVS specific characteristics. It is designed to generate synthetic time-series of images by including models of all important noise sources. The expected overall noise budget of the output images is evaluated as a function of different sets of input parameters describing the instrument properties.
Dedicated to spectroscopic and imaging observations of the ultraviolet sky, the World Space Observatory - Ultraviolet mission is a Russian-Spanish collaboration. The project consists of a 1.7m telescope with instrumentation able to perform: a) high resolution (R ≥50 000) spectroscopy by means of two echellé spectrographs covering the 115–310 nm spectral range; b) long slit (1x75 arcsec) low resolution (R ∼ 1000) spectroscopy with a near-UV channel and a far-UV channel to cover the 115–305 nm spectral range; c) near-UV and a far-UV imaging channels covering the 115-320 nm wavelength range; d) slitless spectroscopy with spectral resolution of about 500 in the full 115–320 nm spectral range. Here we present the WSO-UV focal plane instruments, their status of implementation, and the expected performances.
ISSIS is the Imaging and Slitless Spectroscopy Instrument for the World Space Observatory - Ultraviolet (WSO-UV), a
170 cm space telescope to be launched in late 2015. ISSIS is a multipurpose instrument designed to carry out high
resolution and high sensitivity imaging and slitless spectroscopy in the ultraviolet range. ISSIS has two acquisition
channels: the Far Ultraviolet Channel (FUV) covering the 1150-1750 Å wavelength range and the Near Ultraviolet
Channel (NUV) in the 1850-3200 Å range. Both channels are equipped with Multi Channel Plate detectors to guarantee
high sensitivity and high rejection of lower energy radiation. ISSIS will be the first UV imager into a high altitude Earth
orbit and it will provide unique information on star formation, accretion physics, astronomical engines and planets.
Progress of modern astrophysics requires the access to the electromagnetic spectrum in the broadest energy range. The ultraviolet is a fundamental energy domain; warm plasmas at temperatures of 3,000-300,000 K radiate in this range, also the electronic transitions of the most abundant molecules in the Universe are in the UV. Moreover, the UV radiation field is a powerful astrochemical and photoionizing agent. Some of the most relevant problems in modern astrophysical research are related with the properties and abundance of this warm plasma in the Universe, e.g. the chemical enrichment of the Universe, the formation of the galaxies or the contribution of the InterGalactic Medium (IGM) to the total mass of the Universe. Also, this plasma is the primary tracer of some very important processes for the generation of life in our planet like the onset and stabilization of the Solar dynamo or the acceleration of organic chemistry processes in young planetary disks. This contribution represents a brief accounting of the BIG science to be carried out if new UV instrumentation becomes, eventually, available.