Protostars and Planets VI, Heidelberg, July 15-20, 2013
Star Formation Studies in the SPICA/SAFARI Era
Sibthorpe, Bruce (SRON Space Research Organisation of the Netherlands)
Goicoechea, Javier (Departamento de Astrofisica, Centro de Astrobiologia, CSIC-INTA, Spain)
The Japanese JAXA SPICA space observatory, due for launch in 2022, will provide astronomers with a long awaited new window on the universe. Having a large cold telescope, cooled to only 6K above absolute zero, SPICA will provide a unique environment in which instruments are limited only by the cosmic background itself. A consortium of European and Canadian institutes has been established to design and implement the SpicA FAR infrared Instrument, SAFARI, an imaging FTS spectrometer designed to fully exploit this extremely low far infrared background environment provided by the SPICA observatory. With SAFARI it will be possible to obtain continuous spectra spanning 34 – 210 um within an instantaneous 2’x2’ field-of-view, at spectral resolutions of up to R = 2000 @ 100um (4000 @ 50um), within a single telescope pointing. This capability, coupled with the exquisite sensitivity provided by the cold SPICA telescope, makes SAFARI the ideal instrument to perform large area spectroscopic mapping surveys in the far-infrared.
SPICA/SFARI will provide new insights into a range of astronomical sources. By obtaining spectra for large, statistically significant samples, we can obtain a fundamental understanding of their chemistry and physical processes, and thereby characterise and understand the nature of these sources. Moreover, with the high sensitivity of SAFARI, it will be possible to extend current far-infrared studies of star formation processes to nearby galaxies, thereby putting our current understanding in a wider, universal, context. This poster provides a description of the SAFARI instrument and its capabilities. A brief representative sample of the contribution SAFARI can make in the field of star formation studies is also given, and compared to similar observations made using the Herschel-PACS instrument.
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