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PRIMA: the PRobe far-Infrared Mission for Astrophysics

Presentation #314.02 in the session The Future of FIR Astronomy.

Published onJul 01, 2023
PRIMA: the PRobe far-Infrared Mission for Astrophysics

PRIMA is a far-infrared observatory concept being developed to address timely and fundamental questions about the growths of galaxies and solar systems and their constituents. It will observe the build-up of stars, black holes, and dust in galaxies over cosmic time, and trace the masses and water contents of protoplanetary disks to probe the growths of solar systems. The majority of observing time will be devoted to Guest Observer programs, with focused PI programs to address key science to inform community planning. PRIMA will have spectral, hyperspectral imaging, and polarimetric capabilities, enabled now for the first time by extraordinary progress in kinetic inductance detector (KID) array technology over the last two decades. The telescope will be cooled to 5 K to take maximum advantage of the KID sensitivities. For observations of atomic fine-structure lines, molecular lines, and solid-state emission and absorption bands, R = 130 spectral coverage will range from approximately 24 microns to 240 microns, with a high-resolution mode across the entire band that will have a spectral resolving power of a few thousand at 100 microns. R ~ 10 moderate-resolution (hyperspectral) imaging will range from 25 to 80 microns for rest-frame, mid- and far-infrared spectral energy distribution measurements to disambiguate star formation and active galactic nuclei in galaxies and to probe dust grain composition. Polarimetric observations from 80 to ~200 microns will bridge between the large-scale polarimetry of the interstellar medium from cosmic microwave background observatories and protostellar disk-scale interferometric observations to probe magnetic fields at the critical scales at which clouds collapse to form stars. An overview of PRIMA’s basic design and capabilities will be presented.

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