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Closing gaps to our origins. EUVO: the ultraviolet-visible window into the Universe

Gómez de Castro, Ana I. and Barstow, Martin A. and Baudin, Frederic and Benetti, Stefano and Bouret, Jean Claude and Brosch, Noah and Canet, Ada and de Martino, Domitilla and del Zanna, Giulio and Evans, Chris and France, Kevin and García, Miriam and Gaensicke, Boris and Hillenbrand, Lynne A. and Josselin, Eric and Kehrig, Carolina and Lamy, Laurent and Lapington, Jon and Lecavelier des Etangs, Alain and Naletto, Giampiero and Nazé, Yael and Neiner, Coralie and Nichols, Jonathan and Orio, Marina and Pagano, Isabella and Péroux, Céline and Rauw, Gregor and Shore, Steven and Tovmassian, Gagik and ud-Doula, Asif (2022) Closing gaps to our origins. EUVO: the ultraviolet-visible window into the Universe. Experimental Astronomy . ISSN 0922-6435. doi:10.1007/s10686-022-09854-9. (In Press)

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This article reproduces the contents of the White Paper entitled by the same name submitted to the call issued by the European Space Agency soliciting ideas from the scientific community for the science themes that should be covered during the Voyage 2050 planning cycle. This contribution focus in the investigation of the emergence of life and the role that astronomy has to play in it. Three fundamental areas of activity are identified: [1] measuring the chemical enrichment of the Universe, [2] investigating planet formation and searching for exoplanets with signatures of life and, [3] determining the abundance of amino acids and the chemical routes to amino acid and protein growth in astronomical bodies. This proposal deals with the first two. The building blocks of life in the Universe began as primordial gas processed in stars and mixed at galactic scales. The mechanisms responsible for this development are not well-understood and have changed over the intervening 13 billion years. To follow the evolution of matter over cosmic time, it is necessary to study the strongest (resonance) transitions of the most abundant species in the Universe. Most of them are in the ultraviolet (UV; 950 Å - 3000 Å ) spectral range that is unobservable from the ground; the “missing” metals problem cannot be addressed without this access. Habitable planets grow in protostellar discs under ultraviolet irradiation, a by-product of the accretion process that drives the physical and chemical evolution of discs and young planetary systems. The electronic transitions of the most abundant molecules are pumped by this UV field that is the main oxidizing agent in the disc chemistry and provides unique diagnostics of the planet-forming environment that cannot be accessed from the ground. Knowledge of the variability of the UV radiation field is required for the astrochemical modelling of protoplanetary discs, to understand the formation of planetary atmospheres and the photochemistry of the precursors of life. Earth’s atmosphere is in constant interaction with the interplanetary medium and the solar UV radiation field. The exosphere of the Earth extends up to 35 planetary radii providing an amazing wealth of information on our planet’s winds and the atmospheric compounds. To access to it in other planetary systems, observation of the UV resonance transitions is required. The investigation for the emergence of life calls for the development of large astronomical facilities, including instrumentation in optical and UV wavelengths. In this contribution, the need to develop a large observatory in the optical and in the UV is revealed, in order to complete the scientific goals to investigate the origin of life, inaccessible through other frequencies in the electromagnetic spectrum.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Gómez de Castro, Ana I.0000-0002-3598-9643
Benetti, Stefano0000-0002-3256-0016
France, Kevin0000-0002-1002-3674
Gaensicke, Boris0000-0002-2761-3005
Lecavelier des Etangs, Alain0000-0002-5637-5253
Orio, Marina0000-0003-1563-9803
Péroux, Céline0000-0002-4288-599X
Additional Information:© The Author(s) 2022. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit Received 01 August 2020; Accepted 17 March 2022; Published 23 April 2022. This White Paper grows on the activity of a vast community of about 400 astronomers and scientists world wide and has been made possible through the coordination of the European network of ultraviolet astronomy (NUVA, and the global network for ultraviolet astronomy (gNUVA, Open Access funding provided thanks to the CRUE-CSIC agreement with Springer Nature. The authors declare that there are not conflicts of interest.
Group:Astronomy Department
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (MCIU)ESP2017-87813-R
Universidad Complutense de MadridUNSPECIFIED
Crue Universidades Españolas (CRUE)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Ultraviolet: general; Ultraviolet: galaxies; Ultraviolet: stars; Ultraviolet: ISM; Ultraviolet: solar system; Instrumentation: miscellaneous; Instrumentation: telescopes
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220713-499281600
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Gómez de Castro, A.I., Barstow, M.A., Baudin, F. et al. Closing gaps to our origins. Exp Astron (2022).
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:115524
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:14 Jul 2022 16:07
Last Modified:14 Jul 2022 16:07

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