WEAVE: Exploring new scientific horizons through spectroscopic surveys.

Date
-
Call year
2017
Investigator
José Alfonso
López Aguerri
Amount granted to the IAC Consortium
171.820,00 €
Description
The William Herschel Telescope (WHT) has been a key player in the take-off of Spanish astronomy in the last 25 years. With the access of the Spanish community to 8-10 m (VLT, GTC) telescopes, the WHT's role is specializing in offering what major telescopes can not: large field-of-view instrumentation. In response to calls from ASTRONET and other European bodies, the board of the Isaac Newton Group (ING) approved the construction of a new multi-object large field-of-view spectrograph, WEAVE. This new instrument will have a field-of- view of 2 degrees and the ability to position up to 1000 fibers simultaneously. In addition, up to 20 units of small Integral Field Units (mini- IFU) and a Large Integral Field Unit (LIFU) can be configured, giving it a great versatility. WEAVE will provide a spectral resolution of R~5000 throughout the optical range and R~20000 in three wavelength windows.
During the period 2019-2024, WEAVE will have ~ 70% of the observation time in the WHT producing about 15 million spectra of various astronomical objects. With them WEAVE will provide a unique and cutting-edge science in key fields such as the study of the Milky Way, evolution of galaxies or cosmology, and complement other key European projects such as Gaia and LOFAR. Spain plays a major role in the scientific and technological development of WEAVE. Of the order of 50 Spanish researchers are involved at different levels in the 7 surveys with guaranteed time, and two of these (Clusters of galaxies and WEAVE-APERTIF) are led by Spanish researchers.
The instrument is currently in the construction stage. The commissioning is planned for end of 2018 and the surveys will begin at the beginning of 2019. The Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) in collaboration with the Spanish industry is leading the design and/or construction of important packages of WEAVE: i) new primary focus and field rotator for the WHT telescope; (ii) spectrograph control system; (iii) fiber retractors; (iv) scientific data analysis software (APS). These instrumental packages have meant an investment for Spain of ~ 3.5M which has been financed through the structural funds of the ICTS and the National Plan (AYA2013-43188-P).
Now is the time to take scientific advantage to the strong investment made by Spain in this instrument. The present proposal seeks to obtain fundings for the new stage of the WEAVE project, focused mainly on its scientific exploitation. In particular, the three objectives of this proposal are: i) to obtain engineering resources to finish the instrumental packages leaded by the IAC and for the new phases of commissioning and first light of the instrument. This will allow us to comply with the execution deadlines of the instrument and produce competitive science; ii) obtain resources for the execution of the APS software. This software developed in the IAC will provide the physical parameters of all spectra observed with WEAVE, and it will be essential for all scientific results produced by the instrument, having a high visibility and impact in the scientific community of WEAVE; iii) exploit the first science with WEAVE, mainly focused on the formation and evolution of dwarf galaxies in nearby clusters. This is the survey led by the research team of this project within the scientific project of WEAVE.
Related projects
WEAVE en el telescopio William Herschel
WEAVE - WHT Enhanced Area Velocity Explorer

New multi-object spectrograph planned for the 4.2m William Herschell Telescope (WHT) located in the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos, on La Palma island.

José Alfonso
López Aguerri