4MOST is a wide-field, high-multiplex spectroscopic survey facility under development for the VISTA telescope of the European Southern Observatory (ESO). Its main science drivers are in the fields of galactic archeology, high-energy physics, galaxy evolution and cosmology. 4MOST will in particular provide the spectroscopic complements to the large
area surveys coming from space missions like Gaia, eROSITA, Euclid, and PLATO and from ground-based facilities like VISTA, VST, DES, LSST and SKA. The 4MOST baseline concept features a 2.5 degree diameter field-of-view with ~2400 fibres in the focal surface that are configured by a fibre positioner based on the tilting spine principle. The fibres feed two types of spectrographs; ~1600 fibres go to two spectrographs with resolution R<5000 (λ~390-930 nm) and
~800 fibres to a spectrograph with R>18,000 (λ~392-437 nm and 515-572 nm and 605-675 nm). Both types of spectrographs are fixed-configuration, three-channel spectrographs. 4MOST will have an unique operations concept in which 5 year public surveys from both the consortium and the ESO community will be combined and observed in parallel during each exposure, resulting in more than 25 million spectra of targets spread over a large fraction of the
southern sky. The 4MOST Facility Simulator (4FS) was developed to demonstrate the feasibility of this observing
concept. 4MOST has been accepted for implementation by ESO with operations expected to start by the end of 2020.
This paper provides a top-level overview of the 4MOST facility, while other papers in these proceedings provide more
detailed descriptions of the instrument concept, the instrument requirements development, the systems engineering implementation, the instrument model, the fibre positioner concepts, the fibre feed, and the spectrographs.
The 4MOST consortium is currently halfway through a Conceptual Design study for ESO with the aim to develop a wide-field ( < 3 square degree, goal < 5 square degree), high-multiplex ( < 1500 fibres, goal 3000 fibres) spectroscopic survey facility for an ESO 4m-class telescope (VISTA). 4MOST will run permanently on the telescope to perform a 5 year public survey yielding more than 20 million spectra at resolution R∼5000 (λ=390–1000 nm) and more than 2 million spectra at R~20,000 (395–456.5 nm and 587–673 nm). The 4MOST design is especially intended to complement three key all-sky, space-based observatories of prime European interest: Gaia, eROSITA and Euclid. Initial design and performance estimates for the wide-field corrector concepts are presented. Two fibre positioner concepts are being considered for 4MOST. The first one is a Phi-Theta system similar to ones used on existing and planned facilities. The second one is a new R-Theta concept with large patrol area. Both positioner concepts effectively address the issues of fibre focus and pupil pointing. The 4MOST spectrographs are fixed configuration two-arm spectrographs, with dedicated spectrographs for the high- and low-resolution fibres. A full facility simulator is being developed to guide trade-off decisions regarding the optimal field-of-view, number of fibres needed, and the relative fraction of high-to-low resolution fibres. The simulator takes mock catalogues with template spectra from Design Reference Surveys as starting point, calculates the output spectra based on a throughput simulator, assigns targets to fibres based on the capabilities of the fibre positioner designs, and calculates the required survey time by tiling the fields on the sky. The 4MOST consortium aims to deliver the full 4MOST facility by the end of 2018 and start delivering high-level data products for both consortium and ESO community targets a year later with yearly increments.
Gamma ray bursts (GRBs) are the most energetic eruptions known in the Universe. Instruments such as Compton-GRO/BATSE and the GRB monitor on BeppoSAX have detected more than 2700 GRBs and, although observational confirmation is still required, it is now generally accepted that many of these bursts are associated with the collapse of rapidly spinning massive stars to form black holes. Consequently, since first generation stars are expected to be very massive, GRBs are likely to have occurred in significant numbers at early epochs. X-red is a space mission concept designed to detect these extremely high redshifted GRBs, in order to probe the nature of the first generation of stars and hence the time of reionisation of the early Universe. We demonstrate that the gamma and x-ray luminosities of typical GRBs render them detectable up to extremely high redshifts (z ~ 10to30), but that current missions such as HETES and SWIFT operate outside the observational range for detection of high redshift GRB afterglows. Therefore, to redress this, we present a complete mission design from teh science case to the mission architecture and payload, the latter comprising three instruments, namely wide field x-ray cameras to detect high redshift gamma-rays, an x-ray focussing telescope to determine accurate coordinates and extract spectra, and an infrared spectrograph to observe the high redshift optical afterglow. The mission is expected to detect and identify for the first time GRBs with z > 10, thereby providing constraints on properties of the first generation of stars and the history of the early Universe.