WFIRST: A Powerful Tool for a Diverse Astrophysics Program

David Spergel (Princeton) // October 5, 2017

Abstract: The WFIRST mission will utilize a 2.4 meter telescope with a wide field of view to address many of the most exciting problems in astrophysics. The mission can enable transformational science in a range of areas: (1) its microlensing program should discover ~2000 exoplanets and complete Kepler’s demographic survey; (2) its coronagraph will characterize the atmospheres of nearby planets; (3) its dark energy program will use multiple tools (supernova, gravitational lensing, large-scale structure) to study the origin of cosmic acceleration; and (4) its hundred-fold increase in field-of-view over Hubble will enable a wide-ranging general observer program. As one example, I will discuss a potential astrometric program that WFIRST could conduct to detect exoplanets and to study dark matter in the galactic halo.

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