WEAVE: The next generation wide-field spectroscopy facility for the WHT - Build Phase

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Oxford Physics

Abstract

WEAVE is a new facility instrument, designed for the 4.2m William Herschel Telescope on the island of La Palma, which will upgrade the telescope with new correcting optics to give a high quality 2 degree-diamter field of view (4x the diameter of the full moon). Within this field, a robotic positioning system will allow optical fibres to select up to 1000 simultaneous targets for observation by a new highly efficient spectrograph which is optimised to deliver accurate measurements of the velocities and chemical signatures of the target sources. This facility will enable a survey of close to 10 million stars within the disk and halo of our Galaxy. These observations will be combined with new data from ESA's imminent Gaia mission to provide a detailed map of both the structure and the assembly history of the Milky Way.

WEAVE will also be used to study the population of external galaxies, extending over most of the observable history of the Universe, that will be identified by the new European LOw-Frequency ARray radio telescope (LOFAR), providing detailed information on the evolutionary history of star-formation, and a trace of the elusive Dark Energy component that appears to dominate the present-day expansion of the Universe.

In the nearby Universe, WEAVE will be able to reveal the internal dynamics of 10,000 galaxies, providing for the first time a detailed comparison of the dynamics of the older stellar populations, the areas of current star-formation activity, and (from new radio-frequency observations) the underlying distribution of cold hydrogen gas.

The construction of WEAVE is a collaboration between UK institutions, the Isaac Newton Group of telescopes in La Palma (currently operated by STFC) and partners in the Netherlands, Spain and France. With a 4 year construction preiod, the instrument will be delivered to the telescope early in 2017.

Planned Impact

WEAVE is intended to be a low-risk project, with little scope for technology development in most areas. The primary impact is expected to arise from the science data itself, both in terms of the development of our understanding of the key scientific issues, and in the accessibility of this understanding to the wider public audience,in terms of both the scientific results from the project, and the opportunities to build new citizen science projects (e.g. within the framework of Zooniverse) using 10 million high quality stellar spectra.
We are currently in discussion with the Oxford Zooniverse team (Lintott) to see if the WEAVE archive can be developed from the ground up in partnership with their industrial contacts to provide an efficient route to this development.

In addition, WEAVE's use of Schunk's gantry technology goes some way beyond their current commercial experience, and we are working closely with them to understand how the WEAVE experience can be used to develop their technology for higher performance in commercial applications.

Publications

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Bonifacio P. (2016) WEAVE an overview and status update in SF2A-2016: Proceedings of the Annual meeting of the French Society of Astronomy and Astrophysics

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Canchado Manuel (2016) The WEAVE focus translation system: from design to construction in Advances in Optical and Mechanical Technologies for Telescopes and Instrumentation II

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Dalton G. (2016) WEAVE: The Next Generation Spectroscopy Facility for the WHT in Multi-Object Spectroscopy in the Next Decade: Big Questions, Large Surveys, and Wide Fields

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Dalton Gavin (2016) Towards integrated modelling: full image simulations for WEAVE in Software and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy IV

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Dalton Gavin (2016) Final design and progress of WEAVE: the next generation wide-field spectroscopy facility for the William Herschel Telescope in Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VI

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Dom (2016) Design of the calibration unit for the WEAVE multi-object spectrograph at the WHT in Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VI

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Gilbert J. (2016) Verification of Commercial Motor Performance for WEAVE at the William Herschel Telescope in Multi-Object Spectroscopy in the Next Decade: Big Questions, Large Surveys, and Wide Fields

 
Description EU Tender
Amount € 300,000 (EUR)
Organisation Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands 
Sector Public
Country Spain
Start 09/2015 
End 12/2015
 
Description WEAVE 
Organisation Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands
Country Spain 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Principal Investigator, Project Coordinator
Collaborator Contribution Various work packages
Impact WEAVE project documentation
Start Year 2010
 
Description WEAVE 
Organisation Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes (ING)
Country Spain 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Principal Investigator, Project Coordinator
Collaborator Contribution Various work packages
Impact WEAVE project documentation
Start Year 2010
 
Description WEAVE 
Organisation Konkoly Observatory
Country Hungary 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Principal Investigator, Project Coordinator
Collaborator Contribution Various work packages
Impact WEAVE project documentation
Start Year 2010
 
Description WEAVE 
Organisation Liverpool John Moores University
Department Astrophysics Research Institute
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Principal Investigator, Project Coordinator
Collaborator Contribution Various work packages
Impact WEAVE project documentation
Start Year 2010
 
Description WEAVE 
Organisation National Institute for Astrophysics
Country Italy 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Principal Investigator, Project Coordinator
Collaborator Contribution Various work packages
Impact WEAVE project documentation
Start Year 2010
 
Description WEAVE 
Organisation National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics
Country Mexico 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Principal Investigator, Project Coordinator
Collaborator Contribution Various work packages
Impact WEAVE project documentation
Start Year 2010
 
Description WEAVE 
Organisation Nice Observatory
Country France 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Principal Investigator, Project Coordinator
Collaborator Contribution Various work packages
Impact WEAVE project documentation
Start Year 2010
 
Description WEAVE 
Organisation Observatory of Paris
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Principal Investigator, Project Coordinator
Collaborator Contribution Various work packages
Impact WEAVE project documentation
Start Year 2010
 
Description WEAVE 
Organisation Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Principal Investigator, Project Coordinator
Collaborator Contribution Various work packages
Impact WEAVE project documentation
Start Year 2010
 
Description WEAVE 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC)
Department United Kingdom Astronomy Technology Centre
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Principal Investigator, Project Coordinator
Collaborator Contribution Various work packages
Impact WEAVE project documentation
Start Year 2010
 
Description WEAVE 
Organisation University of Cambridge
Department Institute of Astronomy
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Principal Investigator, Project Coordinator
Collaborator Contribution Various work packages
Impact WEAVE project documentation
Start Year 2010
 
Description WEAVE 
Organisation University of Groningen
Department Kapteyn Astronomical Institute
Country Netherlands 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Principal Investigator, Project Coordinator
Collaborator Contribution Various work packages
Impact WEAVE project documentation
Start Year 2010
 
Description IET Presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Outreach presentation and discussion on technology developments in WEAVE and Gaia.

Request for more talks to this and other organisations
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description School Visit (Christ Church) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Introduction to the Milky Way talk for 60 pupils in years 5-8 followed by lengthy discussion and multiple follow up correspondences.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description School Visit (OHS) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 60 pupils in year 5. Talk to the whole year on how we explore the Universe with some insights into upcoming facilities and possibilities.. Coordinated with the school as an input to a wider science topic on 'space'
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description School visit (Abingdon) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Talk on Dark Matter and Cosmology to 45 sixth form students at the Abingdon School. Warmly received.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Talk for Continuing Education department 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A presentation on developments of the use of Light in Astronomy as part of the International Year of Light to interested members of the general public attending a saturday workshop at the department of continuing education (Rewley House) in Oxford.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/F900-34