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CASTOR is a 1-meter Canada-led space telescope imaging the ultra-violet wavelengths from 135nm to 550nm in three filter (UV, u, and g). Its capabilities go way beyond the current UV space telescopes (e.g., GALEX) in terms of sensitivity, resolution, and field-of-view (see Figure). The CASTOR mission concept has been developed to provide Canadian and international astronomers with state-of-the-art high-resolution and wide-field UV/blue-optical imaging capabilities in the 2020s. Its expected launch date is around 2026.

Science Goals

Many topics in astronomy benefit from CASTOR's unique UV imaging capabilities. Some extra-galactic science drivers include:

  • Cosmological surveys focusing on the mass power spectrum, the distribution of dark matter, and tests of gravity on cosmological scales.
  • The evolution of cosmic star formation, on sub-galactic scales, including the connection between the growth of stellar mass to the assembly of dark matter halos.
  • The star formation and chemical enrichment histories of nearby galaxies and clusters.

Other topics include the study of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGNs) and transient phenomena and tidal disruption events of stars, the discovery of new satellites and streams around our Milky Way, the characterization of UV/blue-optical properties of stars and exoplanet atmospheres, and the identification of the smallest and/or most remove objects in the outer solar system.

My Contribution

I am part of the galaxy and cosmic star-formation (specifically high-redshift) science working group. and provide simulations of imaging data created realistically using the CASTOR specifications. I am also an active part of the CASTOR multi-media and social media team.

More on this topic:
Official CASTOR webpage

Artist's concept of CASTOR orbiting in roughly 800 kilometers (500 miles) above earth.

Comparison of CASTOR's field-of-view (0.47 x 0.47 degrees) with the one of Hubble on top of the spiral galaxy M83 (left). Comparison of a real image from GALEX with a simulated image from CASTOR (note the substantially increased resolution).



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