The Wide-field Infrared Explorer (WIRE) was selected in 1994 for launch in 1998 as NASA's 5th Small Explorer mission. WIRE's primary science objective is to conduct a deep infrared survey to investigate the evolution of starburst galaxies and search for luminous protogalaxies at high redshifts. WIRE will survey hundreds of square degrees at 12 and 25 micron at 200-2000 times fainter flux density levels than the IRAS Faint Source Catalog (0.1 - 1.0 mJy, depending on wavelength and depth of coverage). We anticipate that WIRE will detect about 100,000 starburst galaxies, at typical redshifts of 0.5, and potentially hundreds of protogalaxies at much higher redshifts. The WIRE instrument consists of a 30cm telescope in a dual-stage, solid hydrogen cryostat, and utilizes two 128x128 format Si:As BIB detectors. NASA is currently planning an Announcement of Opportunity for Associate Investigators to utilize WIRE in collaboration with the WIRE science team on topics not related to WIRE's primary objective.
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 1996