CMB-S4 is the next-generation ground-based cosmic microwave background experiment. With 21 telescopes at the South Pole and in the Chilean Atacama desert surveying the sky with over 500,000 cryogenically-cooled superconducting detectors for 7 years, CMB-S4 will deliver transformative discoveries in fundamental physics, cosmology, astrophysics, and astronomy. CMB-S4 is supported by the Department of Energy Office of Science and the National Science Foundation.
Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment
During three years of observations, HETDEX will collect data on at least one million galaxies that are 9 billion to 11 billion light-years away, yielding the largest map of the universe ever produced. The map will allow HETDEX astronomers to measure how fast the universe was expanding at different times in its history. Changes in the expansion rate will reveal the role of dark energy at different epochs. Various explanations for dark energy predict different changes in the expansion rate, so by providing exact measurements of the expansion, the HETDEX map will eliminate some of the competing ideas.
Laser Interferometer Space Antenna
LISA will be a large-scale space mission designed to detect one of the most elusive phenomena in astronomy - gravitational waves. With LISA we will be able to observe the entire universe directly with gravitational waves, learning about the formation of structure and galaxies, stellar evolution, the early universe, and the structure and nature of spacetime itself. [Text and image from https://www.elisascience.org/. Image © NASA/JPL-Caltech/NASAEA/ESA/CXC/STScl/GSFCSVS/S.Barke (CC BY 4.0)]
Vera C. Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time
The goal of the Vera C. Rubin Observatory project is to conduct the 10-year Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST). LSST will deliver a 500 petabyte set of images and data products that will address some of the most pressing questions about the structure and evolution of the universe and the objects in it. The Rubin Observatory LSST is designed to address four science areas: • Probing dark energy and dark matter. • Taking an inventory of the solar system. • Exploring the transient optical sky. • Mapping the Milky Way. [Text and image from https://www.lsst.org]
LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) is a next generation dark matter experiment, selected by the US Department of Energy (DOE) as one of the three ‘G2’ (for Generation 2) dark matter experiments. Located at the 4850′ level of the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, SD, the experiment utilizes a two-phase time projection chamber (TPC), containing seven active tonnes of liquid xenon, to search for dark matter particles. Auxiliary veto detectors, including a liquid scintillator outer detector, improve rejection of unwanted background events in the central region of the detector. LZ has been designed to improve on the sensitivity of the prior generation of experiment by a factor of 50 or more. [Text and image from https://lz.lbl.gov/]
Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array
The NuSTAR (Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array) mission has deployed the first orbiting telescopes to focus light in the high energy X-ray (3 - 79 keV) region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Our view of the universe in this spectral window has been limited because previous orbiting telescopes have not employed true focusing optics, but rather have used coded apertures that have intrinsically high backgrounds and limited sensitivity. During a two-year primary mission phase, NuSTAR maped selected regions of the sky in order to: (1) Take a census of collapsed stars and black holes of different sizes by surveying regions surrounding the center of own Milky Way Galaxy and performing deep observations of the extragalactic sky; (2) Map recently-synthesized material in young supernova remnants to understand how stars explode and how elements are created; (3) Understand what powers relativistic jets of particles from the most extreme active galaxies hosting supermassive black holes. [Text and image from https://www.nustar.caltech.edu/]
Subaru Prime Focus Spectrograph
"How did the Universe start?" ... "Will it end at some point?" ... "How did we come to exist?" These have been fundamental questions about the universe since the dawn of humankind. Surprisingly, we recently found that we know only about 4% of the universe composition. Remaining parts are made of "dark matter", which has never been detected directly, and "dark energy", which is much more mysterious negative pressure accelerating the expansion of the universe. What on earth are these "dark" things? How do they exist around us? How have they been acting on the visible entities in the universe such as stars and galaxies? The Subaru Prime Focus Spectrograph project squarely aims at addressing these long-standing questions. The innovative instrument under development enables us to take exposures of 2,400 astronomical objects simultaneously on such a large patch of sky as several times bigger than the full Moon. Moreover, PFS is a spectrometer. Namely, the lights from stars and galaxies are dispersed and recorded as spectra simultaneously covering a wide range of wavelengths ranging from the near-ultraviolet, through the visible, and up to the near-infrared regime. [Text and image from https://pfs.ipmu.jp/ ]
Sloan Digital Sky Survey V
The Sloan Digital Sky Survey has been working for more than 20 years to make a map of the Universe, and will continue for many years to come. The scientific goals of SDSS-V span the inner workings of our Sun’s nearest stellar neighbors to the growth of black holes from the earliest days of the Universe. [Text and image from https://www.sdss5.org/]
STAR-X is a MIDEX mission proposed to NASA in December 2021. Comprising an X-ray telescope (XRT) provided by GSFC and MIT, a UV telescope (UVT) provided by the University of Colorado, and a spacecraft (SC) provided by Ball Aerospace, STAR-X is designed to conduct time-domain surveys and to respond rapidly to transient events discovered by other observatories such as LIGO, Rubin LSST, Roman WFIRST, and SKA.
Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory
Gamma-ray bursts are fleeting events, lasting only a few milliseconds to a few minutes, never to appear in the same spot again. They occur from our vantage point about once a day. Some bursts appear to be from massive star explosions that form black holes. The Swift observatory comprises three telescopes, which work in tandem to provide rapid identification and multi-wavelength follow-up of GRBs and their afterglows. Within 20 to 75 seconds of a detected GRB, the observatory will rotate autonomously, so the onboard X-ray and optical telescopes can view the burst. The afterglows will be monitored over their durations, and the data will be rapidly released to the public. The X-ray Telescope (XRT) and the UV/Optical Telescope (UVOT) were built by Penn State and collaborators at Leicester University and the Mullard Space Science Laboratory (both in England) and at the Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera (in Italy). In addition, Penn State is responsible leads Mission Operations Center, which operates the satellite. [Text and image from https://www.swift.psu.edu/ and https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/swift/main]