UVEX is a proposed medium class Explorer mission designed to provide crucial missing capabilities that will address objectives central to a broad range of modern astrophysics. The UVEX design has two co-aligned wide-field imagers operating in the FUV and NUV and a powerful broadband medium resolution spectrometer. In its two-year baseline mission, UVEX will perform a multi-cadence synoptic all-sky survey 50/100 times deeper than GALEX in the NUV/FUV, cadenced surveys of the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, rapid target of opportunity followup, as well as spectroscopic followup of samples of stars and galaxies. The science program is built around three pillars. First, UVEX will explore the low-mass, low-metallicity galaxy frontier through imaging and spectroscopic surveys that will probe key aspects of the evolution of galaxies by understanding how star formation and stellar evolution at low metallicities affect the growth and evolution of low-metallicity, low-mass galaxies in the local universe. Such galaxies contain half the mass in the local universe, and are analogs for the first galaxies, but observed at distances that make them accessible to detailed study. Second, UVEX will explore the dynamic universe through time-domain surveys and prompt spectroscopic followup capability will probe the environments, energetics, and emission processes in the early aftermaths of gravitational wave-discovered compact object mergers, discover hot, fast UV transients, and diagnose the early stages of stellar explosions. Finally, UVEX will become a key community resource by leaving a large all-sky legacy data set, enabling a wide range of scientific studies and filling a gap in the new generation of wide-field, sensitive optical and infrared surveys provided by the Rubin, Euclid, and Roman observatories. This paper discusses the scientific potential of UVEX, and the broad scientific program.
- Pub Date:
- November 2021
- Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies;
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena;
- Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
- 69 pages, 43 figures