The Next Generation Space Telescope 

Astronomy in the latter half of this century has made wonderful discoveries, expanded our understanding of the universe, and opened humanity's vision beyond the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Our knowledge of how the cosmos was born and how many of its phenomena arise has grown exponentially in just one human lifetime. In spite of these great strides there remain fundamental questions that are largely unanswered. To further our understanding of the way our present universe formed following the Big Bang requires a new type of observatory with capabilities currently unavailable in either existing ground-based or space telescopes, e.g., the Hubble Space Telescope.

The goal of the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST) is to observe the first stars and galaxies in the Universe. This grand effort is embedded in fundamental questions that have been posed to NASA's Space Science program:

  1. What is the shape of the universe?
  2. How do galaxies evolve?
  3. How do stars and planetary systems form and interact?
  4. What are the life cycles of matter in the universe?
  5. What is dark matter?

The IFIRS Instrument

NGST will need sensitive and flexible instruments to record the light gathered by NGST. At Berkeley we are studying an instrument concept based on an imaging Michelson interferometer called IFIRS.

IFIRS is an Michelson interferometer for NGST configured as an imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer. IFIRS is a flexible instrument since it functions both a camera and a spectrometer.

For technical details consult: