World Space Observatory

The World Space Observatory Project is a new space mission concept, grown out of the needs of the Astronomical community to have access to the part of the electromagnetic spectrum where all known physics can be studied on all possible time scales: the Ultraviolet range. The physical diagnostics in this domain supply a richness of new experimental data unmatched by any other wavelength range, for the studies of the Universe.

As WSO/UV has been driven by the needs of scientists from many different countries, a new implementation model was needed to bring the World Space Observatory to reality. The WSO/UV consists of a single Ultraviolet Telescope in orbit, incorporating a primary mirror of 1.7 m diameter. The WSO/UV System is being developed and studied to make this exciting research possible through the implementation of the WSO/UV mission and assure that it is available to scientists from all countries in the World.

The developments needed to make the anticipated launch of WSO/UV possible in 2007 are led by an open international committee of scientists the World Space Observatory Implementation Committee (WIC). To find out more about the WIC, please click on the button in the header bar.

The World Space Observatory is an international endeavour, and different groups have concentrated on different aspects of the project. The University of Leicester has collaborated by helping to plan the science and instrumentation on the project. The UK members of the project are listed below:

Name Institution

Abdul Alsabti University of London Observatory (ULO)

Martin Barstow University of Leicester

Matthew Burleigh University of Leicester

Andrew Cameron St Andrews University

Janet Drew Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine

Michael Goad University of Southampton

Barbara Hassall University of Central Lancashire

Carole Haswell Open University

C. Simon Jeffery Armagh Observatory

Carole Jordan University of Oxford

Chris Lloyd Rutherford Appleton, Laboratory

Thomas Marsh University of Southampton

Keith Mason Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL-UCL)

Paul O'Brien University of Leicester

Allan Willis London University College (UCLO)


To gain an overview of the planned systems and instrumentation, click on this link: WSO Capabilities


Contribution of UK scientists:

The World Space Observatory has a clear need for very high spatial resolution microchannel plate detectors in the long slit spectrograph and for diffraction limited imaging. Only the UK has the necessary existing technology in the form of the detector systems developed by Leicester and MSSL for the J-PEX high resolution EUV spectrometer and Chandra HRC. A total of 8 detectors will be needed, including redundant elements. Furthermore, there is no obvious lead for the construction of the complete long slit spectrograph, a role which could be taken on by UK groups. The UK also has a leading role in defining the science programme of the mission, coordinating the production of the science case for the phase A study. A UK working group of interested scientists has also been created to allow the wider astronomical community access to the mission and to coordinate the involvement of the existing expertise in UV astronomy.

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