The Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) is the highest priority large space mission recommended by the recent decadal survey in astronomy and astrophysics. It is designed to perform wide-field imaging and slitless spectroscopic surveys of the visible to near-infrared sky. The Astrophysics Focused Telescope Assets (AFTA) study design of the mission makes use of an existing 2.4m telescope to enhance light collecting and imaging performance. The main instrument is a wide-field multi-filter imager with infrared grism spectroscopy. It also features a small-field low-resolution integral field spectrograph. A coronagraph instrument was part of the study and has a primary science focus of direct imaging of gas-giant exoplanets and debris disks.
The WFIRST-AFTA Science Definition Team has solicited community input for potential WFIRST-AFTA coronagraphic science investigations related to NASA's Cosmic Origins (COR) theme or Physics of the Cosmos (PCOS) theme. Such science investigations may further enhance the science case for the AFTA-study design that includes the coronagraph. While not a primary driver for coronagraph design, science investigations other than exoplanet and debris disk studies may provide helpful insight for future design choices. The deadline for submissions from the community is November 15, 2013.
This Science Analysis Group [SAG #6] will analyze the submissions and document this analysis in a report to the Astrophysics Subcommittee. Depending on the number of responses received to the coronagraphic science call, the SAG may also solicit additional scientific input from experts in the community to include in its report.
Hubble News from AAS 240!
With the help of Hubble, astronomers observed a white dwarf star ripping up planets. Read more: Press Release.
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