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Published July 24, 2018 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

Galaxy Evolution Probe: a concept for a mid and far-infrared space observatory


The Galaxy Evolution Probe (GEP) is a concept for a mid and far-infrared space observatory designed to survey sky for star-forming galaxies from redshifts of z = 0 to beyond z = 4. Furthering our knowledge of galaxy formation requires uniform surveys of star-forming galaxies over a large range of redshifts and environments to accurately describe star formation, supermassive black hole growth, and interactions between these processes in galaxies. The GEP design includes a 2 m diameter SiC telescope actively cooled to 4 K and two instruments: (1) An imager to detect star-forming galaxies and measure their redshifts photometrically using emission features of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. It will cover wavelengths from 10 to 400 μm, with 23 spectral resolution R = 8 filter-defined bands from 10 to 95 μm and five R = 3.5 bands from 95 to 400 μm. (2) A 24 – 193 μm, R = 200 dispersive spectrometer for redshift confirmation, identification of active galactic nuclei, and interstellar astrophysics using atomic fine-structure lines. The GEP will observe from a Sun-Earth L2 orbit, with a design lifetime of four years, devoted first to galaxy surveys with the imager and second to follow-up spectroscopy. The focal planes of the imager and the spectrometer will utilize KIDs, with the spectrometer comprised of four slit-coupled diffraction gratings feeding the KIDs. Cooling for the telescope, optics, and KID amplifiers will be provided by solar-powered cryocoolers, with a multi-stage adiabatic demagnetization refrigerator providing 100 mK cooling for the KIDs.

Additional Information

© 2018 Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). The authors gratefully acknowledge NASA award number NNX17AJ89G in support of this work. The authors also gratefully acknowledge discussions with Phil Appleton, Steve Eales, Matt Griffin, GSFC (regarding the ADR), Bill Purcell, and important early work by Anita Sengupta. The research described in this paper was partially carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a part of the California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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