Design drivers for a wide-field multi-object spectrograph for the William Herschel Telescope

M. Balcells, C. Benn, D. Carter, G. Dalton, S.C. Trager, S. Feltzing, M.A.W. Verheijen, M.J. Jarvis, W. Percival, D.C. Abrams, T. Agocs, A.G.A. Brown, D. Cano, C.R. Evans, A. Helmi, I.J. Lewis, R.J. McLure, R.F. Peletier, I. Perez-Fournon, R. SharplesI.A.J. Tosh, I. Trujillo, N.A. Walton, K.B. Westfall

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    10 Citations (Scopus)


    Wide-field multi-object spectroscopy is a high priority for European astronomy over the next decade. Most 8-10m telescopes have a small field of view, making 4-m class telescopes a particularly attractive option for wide-field instruments. We present a science case and design drivers for a wide-field multi-object spectrograph (MOS) with integral field units for the 4.2-m William Herschel Telescope (WHT) on La Palma. The instrument intends to take advantage of a future prime-focus corrector and atmospheric-dispersion corrector (Agocs et al, this conf.) that will deliver a field of view 2 deg in diameter, with good throughput from 370 to 1,000 nm. The science programs cluster into three groups needing three different resolving powers R: (1) high-precision radial-velocities for Gaia-related Milky Way dynamics, cosmological redshift surveys, and galaxy evolution studies (R = 5,000), (2) galaxy disk velocity dispersions (R = 10,000) and (3) high-precision stellar element abundances for Milky Way archaeology (R = 20,000). The multiplex requirements of the different science cases range from a few hundred to a few thousand, and a range of fibre-positioner technologies are considered. Several options for the spectrograph are discussed, building in part on published design studies for E-ELT spectrographs. Indeed, a WHT MOS will not only efficiently deliver data for exploitation of important imaging surveys planned for the coming decade, but will also serve as a test-bed to optimize the design of MOS instruments for the future E-ELT.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number77357G
    JournalProceedings of the SPIE
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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