The Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)

WFIRST, which stands for Wide Field InfraRed Survey Telescope, is NASA’s observatory that is designed to research the area of dark energy, exoplanets, as well as infrared astrophysics for six years.

WFIRST’s primary mirror is 2.4 meters, which is 7.9 feet, in diameter. This size is the same as the size of Hubble Space Telescope’s primary mirror. These two telescopes also have the same structure. WFIRST has two instruments, the Wide Field Instrument, and the Coronagraph Instrument. The Wide Field Instrument has a field of view that is 100 times greater than the Hubble infrared instrument, and it is able to capture more of the sky by using less of the observing time.

The Wide Field Instrument, which is the primary instrument, will measure light from a billion galaxies over the course of the mission lifetime. It will also perform a microlensing survey of the inner Milky Way to find approximately 2,600 exoplanets. On the other hand, the Coronagraph Instrument will perform high contrast imaging and spectroscopy of dozens of individual nearby exoplanets.

 

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Picture from Newton

 

One thought on “The Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)

  1. the astrophysical community has a lot riding on WFIRST! We hope to answer so many questions about exoplanet properties and planet formation theory but currently there has been a lot of concern over recent funding talks from the current administration. Hopefully Congress can keep it together for long enough to let this necessary mission go through!

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