The Mid-Infrared Instrument for the James Webb Space Telescope, I: Introduction

Rieke, G. H., Wright, G. S., Böker, T., Bouwman, J., Colina, L., Glasse, Alistair, Gordon, K. D., Greene, T. P., Güdel, Manuel, Henning, Th., Justtanont, K., Lagage, P.-O., Meixner, M. E., Nørgaard-Nielsen, H.-U., Ray, T. P., Ressler, M. E., van Dishoeck, E. F., & Waelkens, C.
2015, Publications of the Astronomical Society of Pacific, 127, 584

MIRI (the Mid-Infrared Instrument for the James Webb Space Telescope [JWST]) operates from 5 to 28.5 μm and combines over this range: (1) unprecedented sensitivity levels; (2) subarcsecond angular resolution; (3) freedom from atmospheric interference; (4) the inherent stability of observing in space; and (5) a suite of versatile capabilities including imaging, low- and medium-resolution spectroscopy (with an integral field unit), and coronagraphy. We illustrate the potential uses of this unique combination of capabilities with various science examples: (1) imaging exoplanets; (2) transit and eclipse spectroscopy of exoplanets; (3) probing the first stages of star and planet formation, including identifying bioactive molecules; (4) determining star formation rates and mass growth as galaxies are assembled; and (5) characterizing the youngest massive galaxies.


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