The Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) will have sensitivity and resolution comparable to the Hubble Space Telescope, but with a field of view 100 times larger, combining excellent image quality with survey power. The WFIRST observatory will utilize an existing 2.4-meter AFTA (Astrophysics-Focused Telescope Assets) telescope, donated to NASA by another agency, which will be located at the second Sun-Earth Lagrange point (L2).
WFIRST has two instruments to execute the mission science program:
- A Wide Field Instrument (WFI) operating in the 0.5–2.0 micron range. The WFI will have 7 imaging filters, a grism (for redshift measurements in support of baryon acoustic oscillation science), and a prism for spectroscopic characterization of supernovae.
- A Coronagraph Instrument (CGI) operating in the 0.4–1.0 micron range. This Technology Demonstration instrument will have both an imaging detector (for exoplanet detection) and an Integral Field Unit (for exoplanet spectroscopy). The CGI was added to the mission as a “New Worlds Technology Development Program,” which was the top medium-scale priority in space described in the NWNH Decadal Survey Report.
Field of View
45'x23'; 0.28 sq deg
|Sensitivity (5σ AB mag in 1 hr)||28.5||28.2||28.1||28.0||28.0||27.5||28.3|
|Field of View
|Wavelength (µm)||Resolution||Sensitivity (AB mag)
(1Oσ per pixel in 1hr)
|Grism||0.28 sq deg||1.00-1.93||461||20.5 at 1.5 µm|
|Prism||0.28 sq deg||0.75-1.80||80-180||23.5 at 1.5 µm|
|Wavelength (µm)||Inner Working Angle (arcsec)||Outer Working Angle (arcsec)||Detection Limit*||Spectral Resolution|
|10-9 contrast (after post-processing)||47-75|
* Based on current best estimates of performance.