Thirty Meter Telescope

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TMT Wide-Field Optical Spectrometer (WFOS) Review


Pasadena, CA (May --, 2017) – The TMT Wide-Field Optical Spectrometer (WFOS) team held a key review at the TMT Project Office on May 2-3, 2017. WFOS is planned to be one of TMT’s first-light instruments, together with the Infrared Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS).  An external committee reviewed the work performed during the Opto-Mechanical Design and Requirements (OMDR) phase, which focused on the end-to-end optical design configuration, key mechanical design elements and the designs of the two cameras.
The international team updated the review committee on the latest WFOS science priorities. WFOS’s design will offer extraordinary new capabilities to study the early, distant universe, including the first stars and galaxies. The spectrometer will also allow new understanding of the composition of the intergalactic medium that fills space, revealing how heavy elements were spread by early star formation.
Technical advances and performance analyses were presented and discussed, including, for example, ways to reduce the distortion through the optical chain.
The technical review was followed by a one-day planning session to explore how to bridge the OMDR phase and the follow-up phase. Alternative architectures for the WFOS were discussed and priorities generated on different tasks to explore the viability of those alternatives. The team members volunteered to take up tasks that were closest to their own areas of technical expertise, and generated a roadmap toward down selecting one design. The goal is to move into a formal conceptual design phase as soon as possible.
The TMT partnership promotes strong international participation in the development of its science instrument suite, and WFOS represents a collaboration among Caltech, the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), the Nanjing Institute of Astronomical Optics and Technology (NIAOT), the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), the University of California Observatories (UCO) and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). 
The Principal Investigator is Kevin Bundy (UCO), the Project Manager is Maureen Savage (UCO), the Lead Engineer is Matthew Radovan (UCO) and the WFOS Project Scientist is Charles Steidel (Caltech).