WSO-UV project for high-resolution spectroscopy and imaging



During the last three decades, astronomers have had practically continuous access to the 100–300 nm spectral range that is unreachable with ground-based instruments but where astro-physical processes can be efficiently studied with unprecedented capability since the resonance lines of the most abundant atoms and ions at temperatures between 3000 and 300000 K are in the UV. The successful International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) observatory, Russian ASTRON mission and successor instruments such as the COS and STIS spectrographs on-board the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) demonstrate the major impact that observations in the UV wavelength range have had on modern astronomy. The access to space-based observatories is very limited. For the next decade, for the post-HST era, the World Space Observatory UltraViolet (WSO-UV) will be the only large telescope class mission for UV observations, both spectroscopic and imaging. By its potential, the WSO-UV mission is similar to the HST, though it exceeds the HST/STIS in sensitivity by a factor 5–10, but all the observing time will be available for UV astronomy. In this paper, we briefly outline the WSO-UV mission model, instrumentation description, science management plan as well as some of the key science issues that WSO–UV will address during its lifetime. (© 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)