WST will be a revolutionary spectroscopic facility addressing many open questions in astrophysics over a large range in physical scales: from the formation of the large-scale structures in the early universe (100s of Mpc), to the interplay of galaxies in the cosmic web (10s of Mpc), to the formation of our own Galaxy (kpc scales), to the evolution of stars and the formation of planets around them (sub-pc scales) (Credit Rossella Spiga, INAF).
Objectives and ambition
Astrophysics is witnessing a golden era with a number of breakthrough discoveries achieved in the last decade or so, and a large variety of new instrumentation and programs planned for the next decade. Nonetheless, a comprehensive understanding of the formation and evolution of structures in the Universe is still missing.
Many key quests in modern astrophysics and cosmology are still in their infancy:
A vital element to answering these questions will be the availability of vast all-sky spectroscopic datasets of nearby and distant astrophysical sources at medium and high resolution delivering quantitative measurements of key physical parameters: examples include the redshift of galaxies, the kinematics of galaxies and stars, the physical and evolutionary properties of galaxies, the metal content and detailed chemical composition of stars. WST will be an innovative spectroscopic facility to provide this essential capability to the astronomical community.
© WST project