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Proceedings Paper

Cosmic web imager
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Paper Abstract

We are developing the Cosmic Web Imager (CWI) to detect and map emission from the intergalactic medium (IGM). CWI will observe the strong, redshift UV resonance lines of Lyα 1216, CIV 1550, and OVI 1033 over 3600-9000 Å to trace IGM at 1 < z < 7. CWI is an integral-field spectrograph designed for the Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory. CWI combines in a novel way three mature and extensively used instrumental techniques. The Integral Field Unit (IFU) provides a wide 2D field of view of 60 × 40 arcsec2 for observing extended emission over a large region. The spectrograph using Volume-Phase Holographic gratings have high peak diffraction efficiency and are tunable for covering a large bandpass with a single grating. A low read noise CCD combined with source/background shiftand-nod allowing control of systematics and Poisson-imited sky subtraction to observe the low surface brightness universe. With a resolution of R=10,000 CWI is sensitive to limiting surface brightness ranging from 25 - 27.5 mag/arcsec2 (10 min - 8 hours integration). Recent high resolution simulations predict Lyα Fluorescence from IGM at 100 - 1000 LU1. CWI with sensitivity of ~200 LU improves the current observational effort by an order of magnitude and enables us to explore wide range of overdensity (δ ~ 30 - 104) testing the standard model of structure formation in the universe. CWI also serves as the counter part to the balloon borne integral-field spectrograph Faint Intergalactic medium Redshifted Emission Balloon (FIREBALL) currently being built and planned to be launched in Summer 2007. FIREBALL will observe Lyα Fluorescence from IGM at z = 0.7. CWI combined with FIREBALL will enable us to observe the evolution of IGM and the low surface brightness universe.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 June 2006
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 6269, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy, 62693W (29 June 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.672732
Show Author Affiliations
Shahinur Rahman, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Chris Martin, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Ryan McLean, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Matt Matuszewski, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Daphne Chang, California Institute of Technology (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6269:
Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy
Ian S. McLean; Masanori Iye, Editor(s)

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