Science Impacts of the SPHEREx All-Sky Optical to Near-Infrared Spectral Survey: Report of a Community Workshop Examining Extragalactic, Galactic, Stellar and Planetary Science
SPHEREx is a proposed SMEX mission selected for Phase A. SPHEREx will carry out the first all-sky spectral survey and provide for every 6.2" pixel a spectra between 0.75 and 4.18 μm [with R∼41.4] and 4.18 and 5.00 μm [with R∼135]. The SPHEREx team has proposed three specific science investigations to be carried out with this unique data set: cosmic inflation, interstellar and circumstellar ices, and the extra-galactic background light. It is readily apparent, however, that many other questions in astrophysics and planetary sciences could be addressed with the SPHEREx data. The SPHEREx team convened a community workshop in February 2016, with the intent of enlisting the aid of a larger group of scientists in defining these questions. This paper summarizes the rich and varied menu of investigations that was laid out. It includes studies of the composition of main belt and Trojan/Greek asteroids; mapping the zodiacal light with unprecedented spatial and spectral resolution; identifying and studying very low-metallicity stars; improving stellar parameters in order to better characterize transiting exoplanets; studying aliphatic and aromatic carbon-bearing molecules in the interstellar medium; mapping star formation rates in nearby galaxies; determining the redshift of clusters of galaxies; identifying high redshift quasars over the full sky; and providing a NIR spectrum for most eROSITA X-ray sources. All of these investigations, and others not listed here, can be carried out with the nominal all-sky spectra to be produced by SPHEREx. In addition, the workshop defined enhanced data products and user tools which would facilitate some of these scientific studies. Finally, the workshop noted the high degrees of synergy between SPHEREx and a number of other current or forthcoming programs, including JWST, WFIRST, Euclid, GAIA, K2/Kepler, TESS, eROSITA and LSST.
Additional InformationO.D and M.W. would like to warmly thank Michael Blanton, Davy Kirkpatrick, Casey Lisse, Gary Melnick, Massimo Robberto, Michael Strauss, Stephen Unwin, Meg Urry and Roger Windorst. They served as the Scientific Organizing Committee for this workshop and their time and suggestions were invaluable. We would like to also thank Kathy Deniston, Michele Judd and the Keck Institute for Space Sciences staff for logistical support during our workshop. Part of the research described in this paper was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Submitted - 1606.07039.pdf