Field of View: 25.5 (8.3x3) arcmin2
Wavelength range: 0.31 – 1.0 µm (full spectral range @R=1500 in a single exposure)
Spatial Resolution: Seeing limited
Spatial Sampling: 0.05 arcsec per pixel
Imaging mode - <0.45 arcsec FWHM (including contributions from the ADC at z = 60°
Spectroscopic modes - 0.25 arcsec >80% encircled energy at every wavelength
Total Slit Length: >500 arcseconds (8” slits and 0.5” gap provides for maximum 58 targets)
Spectral Resolution: R = 1500-3500 @0.75" slits, higher resolution possible with narrower slits
Throughput: >25% from 0.31 – 1.0µm, >45% from 0.35 - 0.9 µm, not including the telescope
Status (January 2023): WFOS is currently in Prelminary Design Phase. A Conceptual Design Phase was completed in February 2022.
Chuck Steidel (Caltech)
Eric Peng (NOIRLab)
TMT Science Instrumentation Group Lead
WFOS will provide highly efficient imaging and multi-slit spectroscopy over the wavelength range 0.31-1.0 µm and a wide field of view of 8.3x3 arcminute, centered at the telescope optical axis.
Using precision cut focal plane slitmasks, WFOS will enable multi-slit observations of ~50 to 80 objects simultaneously, depending on the chosen slit length and gap, limited by the total slit length of 8.3 arcmin. The full 0.3-1.0 µm wavelength range can be captured in a single exposure at R=1500 with a 0.75 arcsec slit, and with two (three) exposures at R=3500 (5000). The spectrograph channels include remote control over the camera articulation (central wavelength) and the grating angle of incidence (diffraction efficiency vs. wavelength). This ensures that the system throughput is always optimized for the science program.
WFOS has a gravity invariant vertical rotation axis to eliminate rotation-dependent flexure. The instrument incorporates a robust structure that not only supports and provide optical stability to the various components of the instrument, but also meets seismic resilience requirements. In addition, it will incorporate an enclosure to provide a light-tight and thermally-stable environment for the optical elements.
Multi-slit masks are designed by the user(s), fabricated by the observatory, and then loaded into the instrument prior to observing. Users generate the list of fields and science, wavefront sensing and guiding objects to be observed, objects, calibration sources, filters, resolution modes, and exposure times according to observing plans for specific atmospheric conditions and other variables. Data reduction pipeline modules for quick look and quality control include a full instrument simulator to support instrument design and development of the data processing, archiving and distribution system. Full system configuration, guide star and science target acquisition occurs in less than 5 minutes. Calibrations can be performed during the day thanks to an internal calibration source.
The instrument is designed for use in natural-seeing conditions, but it is upgradable to take advantage of possible future ground layer adaptive optics. Possible future additional functionality include an integral field unit and supplemental gratings.
The science cases that motivate the need for WFOS and dictate its design range from solar system programs to the most distant objects in the universe. Some of the most challenging science areas include;
Tomography of the high-redshift intergalactic medium: A flagship science case for WFOS is the characterization of circumgalactic and intergalactic material. The spatial density of faint galaxies is much higher than that of quasars and faint galaxies can be used as background sources for high line-of-sight density Lyman alpha forest mapping of the comsic web and for probing the chemistry, temperature, density and kinematics of circumgalactic material.
Rest-frame UV properties of high-redshift galaxies: The internal processes affecting galaxy evolution, such as star formation and AGN activity and the interplay with the local environment are complex topics that require a highly sensitive instrument to advance observational studies into unexplored periods of cosmic history when the universe was very different to what it is today.
Gamma-ray bursts, supernovae, tidal flares and other transients: Rapid spectrophotometric followup of transient sources, especially those of low brightness, e.g. high redshift supernovae, will revolutionise many areas of astrophysics from Cosmology to Fundamental Physics.
Dark Energy: Deep multi-object spectroscopy of faint galaxies will secure accurate redshifts and spectral energy distributions, allowing accurate calibration of photometric redshifts obtained with 8-m class telescopes such as the Rubin Observatory. This will allow the determination of how galaxy SEDs depend on environment. Also related to observations with Rubin Observatory, weak lensing cosmology will be improved by spectroscopic studies of galaxies to determine their kinematic orientations. For more details, see https://arxiv.org/abs/1903.09325
WFOS Partners (listed aphabetically)
California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
India TMT Coordination Center (ITCC)
Nanjing Institute of Astronomical Optics and Technology (NIAOT)
National Astronomical Observatory of China (NAOC)
National Astronomical Observatories of Japan (NAOJ)
Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU)
University of Science and Technology of China (USTC)
Xi'an Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics (XIOPM)
WFOS Team (by discipline, listed alphabetically)
Chuck Steidel (Principal Investigator, Caltech), Alastair Heptonstall (WFOS Project Manager, TMT), Eric Peng (Project Scientist, NOIRLab), Jason Fucik (Lead Optical Engineer, Caltech), Reston Nash (Lead Mechanical Engineer, Caltech)
WFOS Science Team
Chuck Steidel (Caltech), Eric Peng (NOIRLab), Erica Nelson (Colorado, USA), John O’Meara (Keck, USA), Crystal Martin (UCSB), Khee-Ghan Lee (IPMU, Japan), Norio Narita (Tokyo, Japan), Kimihiko Nakajima (NAOJ, Japan), G.C. Anupama (IIA, India), Vivek M (IIA, India), Roberto Abraham (Toronto, Canada), Ting Li (Toronto, Canada), Michael Balogh (Waterloo, Canada), Evan Kirby (Caltech), Mansi Kasliwal (Caltech), Guo Chen (PMO, China), Yong Zheng (Tsinghua, China), Karen Meech (Hawaii), Casey Papovich (Texas A&M, GMACS PS)
Institutional Team Leads
Daxu Zhang (SJTU), Hangxin Ji (NAOC-NIAOT), Qingfeng Zhu (USTC), Ramya Sethuram (ITCC), Sivarani T. (ITCC), Shinobu Ozaki (NAOJ), Tao LV (XIOPM)
Bernard Delabre (TMT), Devika Divakar (ITCC), Hangxin Ji (NAOC-NIAOT), Jason Fucik (Caltech), Jinfeng Wang (NAOC-NIAOT), Kent Chiu (USTC), Shinobu Ozaki (NAOJ), Sriram S. (IIA)
Ajin Prakash (ITCC), Aman Shrestha (SJTU), Bo Peng (XIOPM), Chen Xu (NAOC-NIAOT), Dehua Yang (USTC), Fumihiro Uraguchi (NAOJ), Govinda K.V. (IIA), Hari Mohan Varshney (IIA), Jie Tian (NAOC-NIAOT), Ping Ruan (XIOPM), Qingfu Bai (SJTU), Reston Nash (Caltech), Risa Shimizu (NAOJ), Sudharsan Kambhala (ITCC), Wansha Wen (XIOPM), Xiangwei Cheng (SJTU), Viswanatha N. (ITCC), Ya Huang (NAOC-NIAOT), Yutaka Komiyama (NAOJ), Zhe Chen (NAOC-NIAOT), Zhensen Song (SJTU)
Roger Smith (Caltech)
Electrical and Software Designers
Kumar T. S. (ARIES), Ramya Sethuram (ITCC), Sivarani T. (IIA), Vaishaly Nigam (IIA)
David Andersen (TMT Science Instruments Group Leader), Alastair Heptonstall (TMT WFOS Project Manager), George Jacoby (TMT Science Instrument Consultant), John Miles (TMT Instrumentation Senior Systems Engineer)