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4MOST

Summary

The 4m Multi-Object Spectrograph Telescope is an upgrade to an existing telescope (VISTA) which is in Chile. The project is going to turn the facility from an imaging telescope (which takes photographs of the sky) to a spectroscopic telescope (which essentially takes rainbows of the light from galaxies and stars). The project is being run by a consortium of 16 institutions with ~250 team members. The project will cost a total of €60million and construction is due to be finished in 2021.

Within the project I am chair of the ‘Extra-galactic Analysis Pipeline Working Group’ (which means I am responsible for analysing all 30million galaxy rainbows!) and member of the Operations Development Group (which makes decisions about the operations of the telescope and surveys).

If you want to learn more about 4MOST, see here.

Overview for Astronomers

The 4MOST consortium has been selected by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) to provide the ESO community with a fibre-fed spectroscopic survey facility on the VISTA telescope with a large enough field-of-view to survey a large frac­tion of the southern sky in a few years. The facility will be able to simultaneously obtain spectra of ~2400 objects distributed over an hexagonal field-of-view of 4 square degrees. This high multiplex of 4MOST, combined with its high spectral resolution, will enable detection of chemical and kinematic substructure in the stellar halo, bulge and thin and thick discs of the Milky Way, thus help unravel the origin of our home galaxy. The instrument will also have enough wavelength coverage to secure velocities of extra-galactic objects over a large range in red­shift, thus enabling measurements of the evolution of galaxies and the structure of the cosmos.

This exceptional instrument enables many science goals, but the design is especially intended to complement three key all­-sky, space­-based ob­servatories of prime European interest: Gaia, EUCLID, and eROSITA. Such a facility has been identified as of critical importance in a number of recent European strategic documents (Bode et al., 2008; de Zeeuw & Molster, 2007; Drew et al., 2010; Turon et al., 2008) and forms the perfect com­plement to the many all­-sky survey pro­jects around the world.

4MOST is currently in its Preliminary Design Phase with an expected start of science operations in 2021.

Adventure is out there!

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