The JWST is a joint collaboration of NASA, ESA and CSA (Canadian Space Agency) for building a 6.5m optical/infrared space telescope, currently scheduled for a launch in October 2018. Often seen as the Hubble’s sucesor, it is a NASA’s top priority, and represents one of the major milestones for Astronomy in the coming decades. We have a significant involvement in two JWST instruments:
MIRI: The Mid-IR instrumnet (MIRI) has been built by a consortium of european and american institutions. MIRI will be covering the mid-IR range from 5 to 28 microns with sub-arcsec angular resolution, and unprecedented sensitivities (factors 10 to 100 better than Spitzer). MIRI supports many different operational modes including imaging, coronagraphy, long-slit and integral field spectroscopy. The MIRI group at CAB is a full member of the european consortium, participating in all related activities, including membership in the calibration and software teams, and in different GTO working groups.
NIRSpec: The Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) is a multi-object, and integral field spectrograph operating between 0.6 and 5 µm with unprecedented sensitivities. In its MOS mode it is capable of simultaneously observing more than 100 sources over a field-of-view (FOV) larger than 3′ x 3′. The NIRSpec will be the first spectrograph in space that has this capability. The integral field spectroscopic (IFS) mode permits to obtain simultaneously 900 spectra over a 3”x3” field of view. It is also equipped with fixed slits for high contrast and exoplanet science. The group is involved in the NIRSpec Instrument Science Team activities, which at the present are mainly focused on the preparations of the first scientific programs to be carried out by the instrument.